Robotics team captures Cowtown crown

By: Sarah Stortz

Operating the controls, the drive team for Team 525 carefully planned out its final move in the very last round of the scrimmage. With only a couple of seconds to spare, the team scored 218 points and ultimately won the Cowtown Throwdown as it managed to place the bin on top of its stacks of totes before the opponent.

The scrimmage took place in Lee Summit, Mo., from Oct. 30 to 31. The opponents for this scrimmage included 48 different teams from all around the Midwest. As the last off-season game for the 2015 Recycle Rush season, the amount of energy from other students was especially high, and this was evident by flying noodles and students in bleachers dancing to the Village People’s “YMCA.”

The main objective for this scrimmage was to stack as many totes on top of each other as possible, along with stacking a recycling bin on top of the tower.

Like any other regional, the Swartdogs followed the basic routine of setting up their pit, having practice matches and training new members how to scout.

For the Cowtown Throwdown, it functioned differently from other games by having the Swartdogs aligned with four different teams that they’ve personally scouted. With these four teams, the Swartdogs worked on the blue side of the gymnasium, competing against the red side across from the gym.

Senior Elizabeth Pierce was one robotics member who helped by scouting the other teams in the tournament.

“We didn’t know we were going to win because the odds of us winning were so low,” Pierce said. “The other team was stacking 220 points at least, and we were pushing to at least 180 points.”

This blue side of the gym continued to stay at a bad spot for the majority of the game until luck fell on their side. The opposing alliance’s robot started to malfunction, and it wouldn’t pick totes up properly. Suddenly, the blue alliance had a huge opportunity to catch up, and it promptly took full advantage of it.

Despite having the satisfaction of winning the scrimmage, Pierce also expressed the importance of having a enjoyable experience working with her fellow teammates.

“Even if we didn’t win, I still would’ve had fun,” Pierce said. “I still had the great experience of going to a scrimmage and seeing other teams, especially seeing new people experience what it’s like.”

One of the newer members is junior Hunter Hadlock, who recently participated in his first scrimmage. Hadlock gained an extremely positive impression of scrimmages after participating in Cowtown Throwdown. “I expected it to be a lot more competitive, but it was really more like a big party.” Hadlock said. “I really loved collaborating with different people and meeting new teams from all over the country.”

Riding back home from Lee Summit, the Swartdogs finally relaxed as they reflected on their overall successful season.

Aside from Cowtown Throwdown, they have also won both regionals that they’ve participated in.

Physics teachers and robotics mentor Kenton Swartley was also glad that the Swartdogs could use their robot one last time before their next kick-off in January. “It was a wonderful robot,” Swartley said “I think our team did a wonderful job this year on making a robot that functioned effectively to score, but at the same time, wasn’t too complex to cause problems.”

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