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The Burlingame B

The Student News Site of Burlingame High School

The Burlingame B

The Student News Site of Burlingame High School

The Burlingame B

Triumph and team unity: Iron Panthers shine at Silicon Valley Regional Robotics Competition

On+Sunday+March+3%2C+Iron+Panthers+collaborated+to+fix+their+robot+which+broke+right+before+quarterfinals.+%0A
Margo Bigue
On Sunday March 3, Iron Panthers collaborated to fix their robot which broke right before quarterfinals.

The Iron Panthers took fourth place at the Silicon Valley Regional Robotics Competition in San Jose from Feb. 29 to March 3 — the Panther’s opening competition of the season.

The Iron Panthers sailed through the first qualification matches on Saturday, which continued into Sunday. The competition stiffened, however, during their elimination match on Sunday afternoon.

“I think our biggest competition was Citrus Circuits from Davis, California. They are currently ranked No. 1 or No. 2 globally. Competing against them was a big challenge,” Weinberg said.

Entering the quarterfinals, tensions were high as the Iron Panthers faced an uphill battle — they were the eighth-seeded alliance and their robot had broken in the match before. 

“Everyone was expecting to lose because we were going against some really talented teams. And then we pulled through and actually won,” Co-caption Zach Weinberg said. That moment when they announced the scores and how we made it to the next round was super special. Just seeing all the excitement in the whole team.” 

Weinberg felt strong enthusiasm throughout the competition and was proud of how well everyone worked together. 

“The competition was super competitive, with many of the top teams on a global scale while being at this local competition,” Weinberg said. “Yet, we were able to take fourth place even from the eighth-seeded position. I’m really happy how we just pushed through.” 

Iron Panthers showed strong effort as they set up for their first match at the Silicon Valley Regional Robotics Competition in San Jose, overall ranking fourth place out of 41 other teams. (Margo Bigue)

Freshman Pranav Bajaj, in his fourth competition with the Iron Panthers, also felt the heightened intensity of this tournament. Even though Bajaj is a human player, meaning he handled game pieces instead of driving a robot, he still sensed the energy in the room.

“Just being there near the field with everyone when the robots are moving is the best part. The spirit was high and cheering for the team really brought everyone together,” Bajaj said. “Our competition is really high stakes, high intensity, and it’s just like a great feeling. It feels surreal.”

Aside from the challenge posed by the quality of their competitors, the team also struggled to get their robot functioning. 

“I’d say the hardest part of the competition was seeing our robot have issues. But then I realized that’s just a part of how things go about to happen. I’m glad that we fixed issues and overall ranked super well,” Bajaj said. 

Programming lead Audrey Johnson agreed that there were some technical struggles in the beginning but also explained how the team worked together to successfully fix the robot. 

“Then the robot improved the whole time. During the finals matches, we were able to work our way up from the last seat alliance to the quarterfinals,” Johnson said.

The team’s bond grew stronger as they cheered together and witnessed their hard work pay off. 

“It was so nice to see everything come together after many stressful weeks. It really felt like all that work we put in paid off during the competition,” electrical lead Aisling Muldowney said. 

Like Weinberg, Muldowney didn’t hesitate to acknowledge the stress and emotion that comes with competition. But she said sharing that experience during the playoffs ended up uniting the team. 

“My favorite part was during the playoffs when everyone was super worked up and waiting for the match to start. Fun dance songs started to play and we all joined in and danced to the YMCA,” Muldowney said. “This was such a fun experience with our team and we really came together to get through this stressful time.”

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About the Contributor
Margo Bigue, Staff Reporter
Margo Bigue is a junior at Burlingame High School and is a first-year student in journalism. Outside of school, Bigue enjoys playing tennis, listening to music, hiking, and hanging out with her friends. She deeply values her Burlingame community and loves to participate in school events as well.
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