Mercy’s own Rosie the Riveters robotics team recently took first place at the District Championships in Jackson. Having competed against 40 other robotics teams from other local high schools, Mercy emerged victorious, receiving first in both the competition itself and first for inspiration.
Considering the Mercy Robotics team started a mere three years ago, their win is an impressive feat. the victory was not achieved without hard work and meticulous practice. Weeks before the competition is held, the team prepares their robot with drive practice and a full systems check, which tests each part of the robot mechanically and electrically. Although most of their preparations pertain to the robot, they also venture outside of the E3 robotics lab to scout out the other competition.
“One really important element of competitions is scouting,” said member senior Megan Rotole. “Scouting is where we watch other teams compete and document their strengths to see if they would make a good teammate for when we pick our final alliance partners. There’s a lot more strategy to the competitions than just building a robot, but Hope Bemis’s (the team’s scouting lead’s) work definitely gave us an extra push to do so well in this competition.”
The robotics team functions with many working parts, complete with the main engineering team, a business team, and a panel of mentors. All attended the past competition to ensure fluidity in their financial and mechanical plans.
A normal robotics competition is set up in a tournament style; teams of three compete with other triads in 12 matches, totaling a number of around 80 initial matches. The top ranked teams, along with two other robotics teams of their choice to join them, then enter the playoffs. Mercy fortunately placed second during the qualifying matches and proceeded to take first in the final two.
However, the team ran into a snag moments after their win.
“When the match was over I tried to contain my happiness because the match was actually under review,” said Rotole, “which meant they could reverse the decision and take our win away from us. The drive team who was so stressed out and wanted to make everyone happy. My mentors who just wanted to watch us succeed. My mechanical girls who had build a robot that worked so beautifully.”
Thankfully, they were granted the first place trophy shortly after the review.
Although each team sets out to win during the competition, there is room for fun and socializing as well.
“My favorite part of the competition is socializing and strategizing with other teams,” said junior Katie Mueller. “Since we only spend a very small amount of time at the competitions actually competing, a lot of our time is spent making friends with other teams. I mean, winning is fun too, but definitely getting to know other like-minded people and learning about their strategies and systems is really interesting.”