Robotics reaches world divisional finals for first time


The Robotics team poses with their awards after the Worlds competition. Photo contributed

Gourav Pany, Staff Writer

At the FIRST World Championship in Houston, Texas, teams from all around Indiana huddle together as Center Grove’s Team 1741, the last Indiana team left in the tournament, awaits the decision of the pivotal Match 3 of the semifinals. A win would guarantee a medal and be the highest 1741 had placed in a world championship, while a loss would mean elimination after playing their first match in the playoffs as part of a four team substitution-based alliance. 

On the big screen, the scores are tied up, though the audience knows that penalties could play a factor in the match. As the result shows up on the screen, the stands erupt as Red Alert Robotics, along with its alliance members, advanced to the finals of the world championship for the first time in team history.

The team’s advancement to the finals was a shocking turn of events from the days before, where the team struggled in qualification matches before turning it around and getting a winning streak that eventually led to other teams noticing their defensive prowess.

“The most interesting thing that happened at Worlds, in my opinion, was us getting as far as we did,” freshman Ethan Herron said. “Honestly, I didn’t expect us to get picked for an alliance, so to be the division finalist and set a new team record felt amazing.”

The team’s finals advancement, however, was not the only thing that was to be taken away from one of the largest exchanges of engineering and knowledge in the world.

“One of the biggest reasons attending the world championship was such a big deal for [my team and I] was learning about universal engineering and that even though many teams were from so many different countries, they all still had amazing robots and mechanisms with their own designs and interpretations of the task at hand,” freshman Lucas Plunkett said.

Even with the team’s tremendous success in the world championship, it is hard for many of the returning students to not think of next season, and how they can hope to replicate the success they had found this year.

“Though we made it so far, we certainly didn’t do it without hiccups along the way,” junior Mitul Patel said. “In order to do what I can to help us get to Worlds again next year, I’m planning more rigorous machine training to reduce tolerances and increase efficiency with new members. My goal with this is to reduce mistakes with the manufacturing process, thus allowing more time to be spent testing the robot and improving it.”

Despite some obstacles and difficulties this season and their loss in the division finals, the exhilaration that stems from the world championship is something that will stay with team members for the rest of their lives.

“It’s incredible what we managed to do with a team that has so many people who haven’t had any experience in FRC, myself included,” junior Jacob Thornton said. “Everyone worked so hard and put many, many hours into working toward this. I still can’t believe what we accomplished and there’s not a single thing that I wish our team did differently and they far exceeded all expectations I, or anyone else, had for our largely inexperienced team.”