Created in 2013, the BHS robotics team, or the Iron Panthers, consists of driven students who are passionate about programming and engineering. Excited to show off the product of a year’s hard work, the Iron Panthers headed to Texas on Wednesday, April 19, staying through the weekend. Around 20 BHS students flew to Texas in hope of finding success at this highly competitive level. This was the first time the robotics team qualified for the World Championships and brought to an end the most successful season the club has ever seen. At the tournament, they made the ‘Roebling’ division quarterfinals, placing 43rd out of 66 teams. Overall, the team won five, tied one, and lost four of their ten matches. Erina Yamaguchi, a junior member of the Iron Panthers, was a part of the group that traveled to Texas.
Yamaguchi had an eye-opening experience at the tournament saying, “We got to strategize and help out teams from other countries including Mexico, China, Canada, Israel, and Turkey.” The interactions with students from other countries taught the Panthers communicative skills and helped them improve their strategies.
During the tournament, the teams scored points if their robots could successfully complete certain objectives. The objectives included shooting Wiffle balls and climbing onto ropes at the end of the match.
Yamaguchi clarifies that the team “made sure that the mechanism that we made and programmed did its job quickly and efficiently.” The team was able to win an impressive total of five matches with this efficient technology.
Yamaguchi adds, “We also modified our robot so it would be easier to fix during competitions.” This key strategy helped the Iron Panthers excel during the competition because any technical difficulties were to be quickly resolved.
The robotics team owes their success to the perseverance and ingenuity that took place all throughout this year. Working hard to make gradual improvements, the Iron Panthers spent the entire year building quality robots that proved to be very competitive. Yamaguchi notes, “During our local competitions, we were also ranked a lot higher, finishing in the top 20 at all of our competitions, which each had over 40 teams.”
Next year, Erina and her team members hope to recruit even more students to the club. Yamaguchi takes pride in the club, saying that it is an “amazing club where students can learn about programming, engineering, how to write grants, set up fundraisers, and many more skills.” Yamaguchi and her team members encourage driven and passionate people to join the club next year.