Last weekend, the Rockport Fulton Pirates Robotics team competed at the State Championship in Austin. Coach Wilshire said, "I am very proud of this team for qualifying for State their very first year. They have set a very high bar, as the vast majority of teams do not qualify for State!" The team really pushed themselves to make a run at being champion and added many new capabilities that allowed the robot to achieve max autonomous and endgame scoring.
Unfortunately, bad luck and inexperience finally caught up with the team. The robot suffered a malfunction in the right rear motor as a result of the motor mount loosening just enough to cause the motor to rotate in its mount. This is a problem since the axles coming from the motors are not in a central location. This wreaked havoc on their autonomous code section and cost them so many points. Instead of gaining points from the qualifying scores at region, it removed the points they did have. It wasn't until the last match that the team finally realized where the problem was and were able to fix it. The robot was then (of course) working perfectly. Unfortunately it was too little too late and Rockport wasn't able to qualify for the final rounds.
"The girls were disappointed, but I am super proud of them. We learned that this motor issue is a very common issue that we should check first whenever these symptoms occur. In the future, I know they would have fixed it after only one round, which is easy to recover from, said Coach Wilshire. The team also learned some new coding that fixes several connection issues that teams using the newer released phones keep having. Despite fighting that issue all year, it wasn't until getting to state and networking with more and more people that they learned this fix – so that will help next year!
This team has inspired the students! We have 2 new high school teams starting next year, because they want to follow the example they set. We will even be having a robotics school in the afternoons this summer (look for the signups soon!)
The original team of LauraLee Dafft (programmer) , Emma Jungman (lead engineer) , and Vrunda Patel (lead designer) has grown to include Rahi Patel (media specialist) and Ora Wilshire (autocad and draftsperson). The team really needed these roles to be filled, and we're hopeful that the added team members help the Pirate team excel even further.
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