The Voice of the Wildcats

The Paw Print

The Voice of the Wildcats

The Paw Print

The Voice of the Wildcats

The Paw Print

Team 100 kicks off the FIRST Robotics Competition season

Abby Brown
Team 100’s robot in action for the FIRST Robotics Competition season.

Cones, robots, and gameplay. While these words seemingly don’t relate, for the students on Team 100 or the Wildhats, these ideas are key for the FIRST Robotics Competition

For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology (FIRST) Robotics is a staged competition of short alliance-based games between high school teams where robots are designed for themed games. This year, the theme is CRESCENDO, which revolves around music and involves teams performing various tasks with their robots including shooting rings into goals and hanging from chains. 

Team 100 or the Wildhats, Woodside’s FIRST robotics team, competed in the Silicon Valley Regional Competition from February 29 to March 3. Against 42 teams, the Wildhats placed eighth in qualifying matches, making them alliance captains, which entails choosing two other teams to compete with them in games. In the playoffs, Team 100 placed third as captains of the fifth alliance, a strong showing for their first major competition of the season. 

Team 100 with Team 972 and Team 2073 at the Silicon Valley Regional Competition.

“We did really well [even though] we had a couple of errors from [our] software and one of our big problems is [that] our battery box ended up breaking and we ended up ejecting our battery in our second to last match,” junior Milo Pitera said. “Besides that, I think we did really quite well.”

Pitera works as the coach’s assistant or team captain, helping to build, assemble, and manufacture the robot during preseason. An average preseason day, or the six weeks leading up to the first competition, for Team 100 consisted of prototyping different ideas and collaborating with team members. This year, Woodside hosted Cal Games, an off-season regional event with 40 teams competing. With the last Cal Games at Woodside being in 2014, this was a huge deal for Team 100, who were able to field two teams in the competition. 

“We took all of our rookie members and we put them through a six-week training course where they actually got to assemble, wire up, and code a small competition robot designed to play last year’s game,” Pitera said. “We actually got to field a team made up of our rookie members, and they got to field one of the robots that they built in order to compete.”

This experience better prepared the Wildhats for the Silicon Valley Regional Competition, where unexpected problems occurred with the robot. 

“I would say our second and third match were our worst matches ever [because we kept] running into issues where it wasn’t performing as well as we wanted it to,” senior Kathryn Raynaud Richard said. “But we just persisted and made sure to keep on doing our best.” 

Raynaud Richard works as the subsystem leader, strategy leader, and drive coach for Team 100. In these roles, Raynaud Richard strategized with the various teams in their alliance during the competition, including Team 972, or Iron Claw from Los Gatos High School, and Team 2073, or Eagle Force from Pleasant Grove High School. Through this experience, Team 100 interacted with many different teams from around the world.

“It was just overall a really fun competition getting to meet several teams from around the Bay Area,” Raynaud Richard said. “There’s also a couple teams from out of state, like there was a team from Las Vegas and Hawaii and also some international teams as well.”

Following the Silicon Valley Regional Competition, Team 100 prepares for the Monterey Bay Regional Competition on March 29th and 30th. This competition will determine whether Team 100 goes to the FIRST World Championships, an event that they attended last year.

“Hopefully we’ll be qualifying for the World Championships there,” junior Ravi Malhotra said. “We are pretty hopeful seeing how things went at [the Silicon Valley] competition. Our robot seems very mechanically prepared for [the World Championships].”

Malhotra’s job as business lead includes fundraising, promoting the team, and organizing outreach events to local schools and community members, a large part of FIRST’s goal of inspiring “gracious professionalism”. With this goal, FIRST encourages high-quality work and respects individuals and the community. Team 100 keeps this in mind by inviting anyone in the Woodside community to join the team.

“I think that robotics is open for anyone and you can really find your place no matter what you’re interested in,” Malhotra said. “I think a lot of people don’t see robotics as a place for people to do photography, journalism, or community-based things. But [robotics is a place] for all these things and whatever else you might envision for the team.”

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About the Contributor
Kailyn Holty
Kailyn Holty, Editor in Chief
Kailyn Holty is a junior and third-year journalist. She enjoys writing about campus life, current events, and cultural pieces. She hopes to raise awareness of student issues through her writing. In her free time, she likes playing tennis, hiking, completing jigsaw puzzles, and reading.

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