The rundown on robotics


Mercy’s Riveters competed in their second competition of the season this past weekend. The team, which is made up of several smaller job-specific groups, works to produce a final product of a robot capable of completing specific obstacles and functions. This year, the robot had to satisfy the following requirements: it must put gears into structures in the middle of a field to start rotors, the robot must climb ropes, and it must throw balls into high and low goals. In early January, the season’s game and layout was set, which changes each year and lays the foundation for the building and strategy processes.

Each team earns a number of district points based on its performances in regional competitions. Once a team receives a set amount of points, the members can then qualify for the state competition and, in turn, for the world competition. After six weeks of building, the first of two district competitions begins, leading toward the championship tournaments.

Along with this weekend’s competition came a large amount of success for the drive team, which operates the robot built by the team using joysticks, and the devoted members aided in providing the robot with necessary gears and balls during the competition.

“As the drive captain, I wanted to secure my team a bigger win [than the previous competition], but I was unsure if it’d be possible since many notoriously good teams would be competing with us,” said junior Iza Marrical, a student leader of the team and the group of five students who operate the robot. “Overall, though, we actually ended up beating two of those notoriously good teams in the finals.”

After winning two games with the help of two other teams against opposing alliances in the quarterfinals, semifinals, and finals, the Riveters came out on top in the main event. The business sector of the team won an entrepreneurship award, as well.

The win meant a lot more for the team than just a medal, though.

“The win this past weekend was really big for us since we’re such a young team,” said Marrical. “As only a three-year-old team, these wins prove that we’re on the right track.”

The team went head to head with others from across the state. Following the results of the last competition, where the Riveters finished second to one of the top teams in the final, expectations and nerves were high.

“Major wins include our straight six-game-win from quarterfinals to the finals, which was amazing,” said Marrical. “I really loved watching the drive team grow through the competition, and their excitement made me want to push harder.”

Aside from delving into coding and building projects with the help of others, along with the benefits of problem-solving and group cooperation, Mercy’s robotics team provides its members with an experience like no other.

“I’ve been able to grow as a leader in a supportive environment of dedicated mentors and students,” said Marrical. “I love how everyone lifts each other up and really cares about the team and what we do.”

Looking forward, the team hopes to attend Worlds in the next few weeks.