The Burlingame robotics team, known as Team 5026 or the Iron Panthers, has recently won recognition for itself and the school by competing in the finals of an offseason FIRST Robotics Competition (FRC) event, Chezy Champs, for the first time on Sept. 17 and the semi-finals of the CalGames tournament on Oct. 15.
The Iron Panthers beat the world champions, Team 254, in one of the final Chezy Champ matches, before ultimately losing because the team failed to win two out of three of the matches. The Burlingame robotics motto, “student-built, student-run,” reflects the fact that the team receives no outside help. However, the world champion team, which the Iron Panthers beat, receives both financial and engineering aid from their sponsor NASA.
Team 5026 has only participated in two tournaments so far, but they have place highly in each. As a result, the team has crossed an important milestone and has bolstered their reputation, as well as marking Burlingame High School as a “robotics school.”
“Our recent success has gained us a lot of recognition,” junior Chris Sung said.
“Back [in freshmen year], no other teams expected anything out of us, which contributed to our messy strategies at the time ” said junior Alec Soohoo.
The team has been able to make constant improvements thanks to their experience in years prior in order to correct their previous mistakes.
“Reaching the finalist position at Chezy Champs was the result of the improvements we have made over the whole season,” Sung said. “We took what we knew could be improved and made fine adjustments to tip us over the other teams at the competition.”
The robotics team has made tremendous progress which has come to fruition this season. Despite their achievements, however, the Iron Panthers are not yet satisfied.
“We were pretty happy with how the competition turned out, but we always had more ambitious goals,” Sung said. “We are also happy that other teams are taking us more seriously, but we still have room to improve. We aren't as decorated as some other teams in California, so this serves as a motivation for the whole team to strive to do better when the next competition comes around.”
From their humble beginnings, the robotics team has come a long way, and they plan to further improve and develop in order to extend and strengthen the school’s reputation.