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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

Iron Panthers barely fall short of world championship

Team+members+carry+the+robot+out+for+competition.
Photo courtesy of the Iron Panthers
Team members carry the robot out for competition.

From Wednesday, March 20, to Sunday, March 24, the Iron Panthers attended the Arizona East Regionals of the international FIRST Robotics Competition in Tempe, Arizona. 

The Panthers spent three months preparing for the competition, which determined qualification for the FIRST word championship hosted in Houston, Texas.

“This is the first time we’ve ever thrown in an out-of-state [competition],” team coach Christina Wade said. “I was a little intimidated at first, but everyone was really helpful. They worked hard. They were responsible.”

Of the 15 matches the Panthers competed in over the three-day competition period, they won 12. The objective of each match was to use the robot to place as many “notes” — orange foam rings — into several different amplifiers on a basketball court-sized course. The robot was aided by autonomous programming and driving from robotics members. In these matches, teams worked in alliances with two other teams, and the alliance that earned the most points won. 

“It gets pretty hectic with six robots defending each other and driving into each other,” junior and co-captain Zack Weinberg said. “Our drive team was really good at avoiding that defense and scoring a lot of notes to get us points.”

The high-paced nature of the competition also called for constant maintenance by the pit crew to fix any issues with the robot.

“Our pit crew fixed the robot really quickly, they just knew how to get things done fast and in an efficient manner,” senior and co-captain Angelyn Liu said.

While the Panthers were in first place for a considerable portion of the tournament, their loss in their last match dropped the team down to third place out of the 42 competing teams. 

“We are a little disappointed because we worked really hard and hoped that hard work could be rewarded by us going to the world [competition],” Liu said.

However, the Panthers’ third-place finish was hardly a defeat and is a testament to their work ethic.

“The students were working together better than I’ve ever seen them,” Wade said. “Anytime there was an issue or something that needed to be solved, they were able to solve it so fast.”

Wade also received the Woodie Flowers Award, which celebrates effective communication and mentoring. Liu, who wrote an essay nominating Wade for the award, expressed her gratitude for Wade’s leadership and passion for the program.

“She is the founder, and she is a great role model for a lot of us because she’s a woman in STEM,” Liu said. “We credit Ms. Wade for making robotics such a welcoming environment.”

As the season comes to a close, the team is extremely satisfied with its progress this year and already has plans to improve for next year.

“I’m really happy with how the team performed. There are some lessons we took away that we’re going to work to improve on in future years,” Weinberg said. “In FRC, we came away proud of our robot with some really good performances.”

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Will Kriner, Senior Reporter
Will Kriner is a junior at BHS, and this is his second year in Journalism. He is eager to further improve his writing skills this year by writing articles for the Burlingame B and working with his peers. Outside of school, he enjoys listening to music, playing basketball, watching TV shows, and hanging out with his friends.
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