So far, 2017 has been a great year for the Iron Panthers, Burlingame’s robotics team. In this semester alone, the “student-built, student-run” team has beaten a world champion team sponsored by NASA, competed in semifinals and finals, and even won a tournament by a huge margin on Nov. 19.
The robotics team functions with two separate teams that compete and qualify in two different national robotics competitions; the FRC (FIRST Robotics Competition) and FTC (FIRST Tech Challenge). Both teams have met a lot of success. The FRC team competed in the finals of the Chezy Champs tournament on Sept. 17, and the semifinals of the CalGames tournament on Oct. 15. In their most recent competition, the Saratoga tournament on Nov. 19, the FTC team won.
This year was the first time the FRC team had competed in finals and it was the second time the FTC team won a tournament, their first win being a fluke in 2015.
“We probably shouldn’t have won, but we did.” said junior Junha Park, FRC team member.
FTC member Andrew Cummings said, “The year has only just begun, so it's difficult to measure, but our FTC team is far and away much more successful than any past year, winning a qualifying tournament by a large margin.”
Having achieved some recognition, the team has its sights set on further improvement and some more altruistic goals.
“We want to improve our standings at competitions, obviously, but I also think many of us genuinely want to help out other teams who are new or need advice,” said Cummings.