By Team 399 Eagle Robotics
LANCASTER – Team 399 Eagle Robotics of Lancaster High School began their 17th competition season this month at the San Diego Regional. The students also competed at the Los Angeles Regional, where they won the Entrepreneurship Award, and they will compete in the Boise, Idaho Regional during the first weekend of April.
As participants of For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology (FIRST), the team was given a six-week time frame to design and build “Chames” — their robot named after their late mentor, Mr. Chambers — for this year’s game challenge, FIRST Stronghold. The game is a take on a medieval battlefield. Alliances of three robots go on a quest to breach their opponents’ fortifications, weaken their tower by firing boulders (small foam balls) through goals, and scale the wall to capture the tower. Eight defensive obstacles can create over 18,000 possible field configurations, which are chosen by audience participation.
At the San Diego Regional from March 3-5, Eagle Robotics overcame robot difficulties to rise to the 13th seeded position out of more than 60 teams. Eagle Robotics was selected by the 7th seeded alliance and partnered with Team 5199: The Robot Dolphins From Outer Space and Team 2399: RoboLopes from Antelope Valley High School. Although they scored their highest round in their last match, they were shy several points and failed to progress to the semifinals.
“I’m very proud of how far we, as a team, were able to get in San Diego,” said drive team operator Ruth Nuttall said. “We had a few problems with gearboxes and the intake, but once we got those working we were able to go very far. Scoring seven low goals in our last match and breaching defenses, we fought hard for our alliance.”
Eagle Robotics, from March 10-12, traveled to Long Beach to compete in the Los Angeles Regional in a field of 66 teams from as far away as Chile. After 90 qualification matches, the team ended as the 8th seeded alliance captain, but moved up into the 6th seeded position by the end of alliance selections. As alliance captain, Eagle Robotics worked alongside Team 3863: Pantherbotics and Team 5089: Robo-Nurds. After three hard fought matches in the quarter-finals, they advanced to the semi-finals. Unfortunately, “Chames” became disabled in their last match and the alliance was eliminated.
Team 399 didn’t leave the Los Angeles Regional without a win. They received their first ever Entrepreneurship Award, which celebrates the entrepreneurial spirit by recognizing a team that has developed the framework for a comprehensive business plan to scope, manage, and achieve team objectives. Team 399’s efforts in their largest team fundraiser, RoboProm, a dance the team runs at the World competition in St. Louis, was specifically mentioned.
The last regional of the season is from March 31 to April 2 at Boise State’s Taco Bell Arena, where Eagle Robotics will be presenting for the prestigious Chairman’s Award. The award honors a team that best represents a model for other teams to emulate and best embodies the purpose and goals of FIRST. Team 399 has won the award four times.