Non-Sports Teams at Woodside: How Do They Work?

What non-sports teams do, how they work, and how they are represented to the student body

A+past+challenge+at+a+robotics+competition+was+for+the+robot+to+move+a+ball+into+a+hoop.

Team 100 Wildhats

A past challenge at a robotics competition was for the robot to move a ball into a hoop.

Winnie Einhorn, Staff Writer

While most of the student body is familiar with the many sports teams that Woodside has to offer, there are non-athletic teams as well! 

Woodside has non-athletic teams that represent our school in a range of competitions. Teams such as the competitive math team, the robotics team, and the marching band have several competitions year-round, in which they compete against several other schools at a time. 

These teams face a variety of dilemmas around representation to the student body, especially compared to the strong competitive following of the sports teams. Some teams, such as the marching band, are able to gain support through pep rallies and sporting events.

“I think rallies help advertise for us. We’re kind of loud… I’m sure a lot of [people] can hear the various music groups,” Tyler Yuen, a Woodside freshman and clarinet player for the marching band, said. 

However, the robotics and math teams do not feel they have the same widespread awareness around campus. 

“I wouldn’t say that we have great outreach across the campus, but I think that people know we exist,” Gigi Pistilli, a Woodside senior and math team officer, said. 

The math team is not the only group that does not see a lot of representation across the school. Especially contrasted against the sports teams, it is difficult to get the same level of recognition.

“Sports teams are sort of more well known on campus. I guess because in the announcements, it’s like ‘let’s look at this video of how cool water polo is’… I feel like robotics doesn’t do a lot of that,” Mariel Shapiro, a Woodside senior and leadership member of the robotics team, said. “I don’t feel like they realize how many hours we put in.” 

The robotics team has intense hours ramping up to competition season, in which they compete against about fifty other schools. 

“It’s like three or four hours once a week, twice a week for off-season. And then we had build season, and… you’re here from [the] beginning of school to like 6 p.m.,” Ethan Ley, Woodside senior and Robotics leadership team member, said.

The teams range in competitive nature, with the robotics team classifying as one of the more serious groups. The math team, on the other hand, considers themselves to be less competitive.

“Our team is very chill. We’re very relaxed. We’re not trying to get intense… For us, it’s more about getting the students exposed to math competitions and helping them enjoy this amazing subject,” Connor Herson, Woodside senior and math team officer, said. 

“We just go [to the club], and then we do math. And then we talk, and we respond… we vibe, and then we do competition sometimes,” said Pistilli. “We do well, or we do badly, and then we laugh about it.” 

Non-athletic teams have competitions, tournaments, and performances that differ from the one-on-one type competitions that the sports teams compete in. Competitions can be found in a range of formats and competitors. 

“This year [the robot] had to put these yellow foam balls into a big hoop.. and we had to shoot it a certain height. And we also had to spin a color wheel a certain amount of times or have it on a certain color,” Ley described. 

“Since the game is different every year, it’s like you’re redesigning and relearning and creating things every year,” Woodside junior and robotics team leader Parker Chandik said. 

In addition to marching band’s performances at football games and pep rallies, they have a few competitions of their own. 

“Lately we’ve been preparing for Santa Cruz Band Review and doing some more marching, so that’s been fun,” Yuen said. “We have maybe three or four performances. And then we also have football games.”

While competitions range in format, they can also range in accessibility. Marching Band events commonly take place at the same time as football games, so they often have a large audience for their performances. 

Math competitions are structured very differently. Some competitions are done head to head with another team, and others are taken remotely, in a form similar to a written test.

“The AMC [American Mathematics Competitions] is a big one,” Pistilli said. “It’s a 90-minute test. There are 25 problems. I think I got six of them last year. They’re really hard.” 

Robotics competitions can have audiences, but they most commonly have light attendance. 

“With [sports] games, their team is having all these people there from all these different schools, from the school and everything, and it’s like this huge social event,” Chandik said. “Whereas with robotics…, it often ends up being the team members and then maybe some of their family… There’s not quite that same social aspect.”  

Non-athletic competitive teams at Woodside can be quite different from sports teams and are all unique and exciting in their own way.

“We’re more active in the mind, and it takes a lot more mental stress… than for other sports. So there’s those similarities and differences,” Yuen said.