Robotics Gears Up for New Year

Emma Sandstrom, Staff Writer

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After a second-place finish and a final four appearance in robotic competitions last year, the Mount Greylock Robotics Team is gearing up for the upcoming season of competitions, which officially begins in December.

The club is affiliated with First Robotics, a foundation that administers competitions that the club will participate in over the course of their season. First Robotics is an international competitive robotics league created to help incorporate STEM learning in areas including engineering, math, and programming. Competition takes place across several divisions, from the First Robotics Lego League Jr. and the First Lego League to the First Tech Challenge and the First Robotics Competition. Robotics teams from all over come together to compete on the first Saturday of January each year.

Team building captain Anthony Welch explained that although participating in Robotics Club is undoubtedly time consuming, meeting after school four days a week and a few weekends, he finds it to be an enjoyable break in his stressful academic day.

However, Welch said Robotics Club meetings are by no means mandatory and flexible for any student interested in joining.

Welch said that participation is well worth it. “I think the club is one hundred percent worth it. The excitement of the competition is like no other when you watch a robot that you spent hours, days, and weeks sweating over. The life lessons that you learn are one of a kind, truly.” 

The team capped off the 2018-2019 season as finalists in their first competition and semi-finalists in their second. 

Although the official competition season won’t start until December, Welch expressed his excitement about the team’s preseason activities leading up to the season.

“The building and design process is always fun, and I am especially excited for the integration of the new members onto our team,” Welch explained.

To kick off the year, the team brought back their former robot from last season as a way to teach their new members about their creative design process. The club veterans challenged their new members to add a mechanism to the robot using the process.

Despite the official not beginning for another few months, the team remains busy. They don’t yet know what to expect, but are familiar with last year’s competition where they needed to create a robot to take on the space-themed course. Robots in last year’s challenge needed to navigate around a field to manipulate balls and velcro hatch panels onto small rockets and cargo ships.