Team 555 took home second-place medals at the Bridgewater heat of the 2016 season, a thrilling reward for weeks of hard work by the Montclair High School students. The team was parachuted into the finals at the heat to replace an incapacitated team, joining an alliance that just failed to win the event.
That gave the kids great momentum into the second heat at Montgomery High, where they built on their performance with souped-up vision technology and a noticeable sharpening of strategy. The team’s drivers maneuvered the robot over the gamefield’s moats and other obstacles with speed and confidence, picking up the ball and lining up expertly for bullseye canon shots through the field’s castle window. A pizza lunch supplied by the booster club kept teenage hunger at bay.
Though they didn’t do well enough against very strong opposition to qualify for the regional finals, the kids left proud of their performance and brimming with ideas for next year.
“I think that the team’s performance this year, regardless of rankings, was really incredible,” said junior Julia Falcone. “There were so many improvements from last year in training, planning, and robot construction. We built the robot, played it on the field, kicked butt, and had fun, and that’s what matters.”
Some kids even got to work the very next day on a new coding strategy. Energized by the improvement over last year, the booster club committee has also began discussions on how the team can do even better next year. The support that the Friends were able to provide, assisted by the generous donations of sponsors and parents, is already having a transformative influence.
“This year was all about transformation,” said senior Mason Haberle. “Understanding better how to use all of these changes to our advantage from the beginning, rather than learning along the way, will make the future smoother, more efficient, and more than any robotics season yet.”