By JOHN GORALSKI
It’s not how you start that counts. It’s how you finish. Southington High School’s CyberKnights struggled in the opening round of their first competition at SUNY Polytechnic Institute in Utica, N.Y., but by the end of the weekend their alliance had captured the first banner of the season.
Last weekend, the team kicked off the FIRST Robotics season, and it looked like opening day as the locals after their first challenge.
“The team had a rough start with the robot not being fully operational on day one,” team mentor Sandra Brino said in a press release. “The team made a momentous effort bringing incremental functionality online throughout the day until she was a force to be reckoned with.”
This year’s challenge, “Destination: Deep Space,” pits two alliances against each other, collecting samples on a fictitious Planet Primus. Robots navigate unpredictable terrain and weather patterns to gather as many cargo pods as possible before a sandstorm arrives.
With driver’s losing visibility in the storm, robots can follow pre-programmed instructions or be driven remotely as they load cargo pods into their rockets and cargo ship. As time winds down, human operators are able to take control of their robots to score more points.
Southington’s Team 195 improved as the competition continued, battling up from 26th to seventh place before being drafted into an alliance by the top team (Team 2791 Shaker Robotics from Lathan, N.Y.), along with Team 395’s 2 Train Robotics from Bronx, NY.
“The alliance fought hard through the playoffs to bring home the win,” Brino said in the release.
The victory automatically qualifies the team for a slot at the global championship event in Detroit Michigan.
Of course, the CyberKnights will continue to perfect their robot. This weekend, they will be competing at Western New England University for their first New England district event.
“We hope to bring yet another blue banner home,” Brino said in the release. “We hope some of you will come and watch us play in Springfield this weekend. We love visits from our sponsors and supporters.”
For fans that can’t make the trip, follow the CyberKnights online at www.thebluealliance.com.
More at www.Team195.com or FIRST Team 195: The CyberKnights on Facebook.