Melrose High School, Melrose, MA

Melrose High School, Melrose, MA

Friday, June 7, 2013

IRaider Robotics Season Recap

The IRaiders Robotics team wound down from their season at their last competition on May 31st at Northeastern University. It ended a long and trying season for the team, who has been attempting to recover from the loss of six of their most experienced members as departing seniors last year. The team persevered, however, and moved forward despite their relative inexperience, building a working robot in the six weeks allotted by the FIRST Program (For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology), the organization that runs the competitions that the IRaiders  participate in. The team’s first official competition was at Boston University’s Agganis Arena, where the regionals are held to decide which teams advance to the national competition held later in the year. The IRaiders competed against teams from as far away as Connecticut, New York, Maine, and Canada, along with dozens of other teams from across Massachusetts. The team’s inexperience hurt them though, and they were unable to make the elimination rounds at the end of the competition. However, the team was eligible and competing for the Chairman’s Award, the highest and most prestigious award the FIRST Program has to offer, contending with about a dozen other teams at the competition for the honor. While they ultimately didn’t get the award, they have expressed interest in attempting to win it next year. “We put a lot of effort into that award application,” said Co-Captain Andrew Claxton. “So what if we didn’t get it this year? There’s always next time, and we’ll keep trying until we succeed.”
The team’s poor luck continued at their competition at Worchester Polytechnic Institute in May though, losing multiple matches due to various failures in the robot’s code and shooting mechanism (this year’s game involves shooting Frisbees form dispenser stations into goals on the other side of the field).  They also experienced difficulties at Northeastern, losing badly after the robot was damaged during the competition. Despite the difficult year the team remains in high spirits. “We had a tough year, but we’ll come back and learn something from this experience,” said Captain Claxton. “It’s not going to always be easy, but we’re not a team that does giving up.” 

By Andy Griscom

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