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On to New Englands!
Posted 01/22/2018 01:24PM

Prep robotics team sharpens its skill set at Framingham tournament

SJP Robotics TeamThe Mecha Eagles Team A posted a 5-3 record and finished among the top quarter of the field in 12th place this past weekend at the VEX Robotics New England qualifier at the Walsh Middle School in Framingham. Perhaps just as impressive, the St. John’s all-freshman team—Mecha Eagles C—earned a 4-4 mark and were chosen to be part of alliance in the elimination rounds.

“Team C finished 21st overall and made great progress since the last competition (in November) and have much to celebrate,” said assistant club moderator and computer science teacher Lisa Standring. “They made intelligent adjustments at the competition and it was noticed by the other teams. Their robot performed reliably and they’re eager to get back to the workbench to make it more robust.”

Team A had already qualified for the Southern New England High School VRC Starstruck Championship on March 10 by winning a tournament this past fall, but built on that success and took home the “Think Award” this past weekend, bestowed by judges to the team with “impressive and effective autonomous programming.” Of the 45 teams competing in the Framingham tournament, only six faced a tougher strength-of-schedule than Mecha Eagles A on Saturday.

Congratulations are also in order for the Mecha Eagles B Team, which posted a record of 3-4-1 to finish 29th. The competitive season is now over for teams B (8-6-1 in 2017-18 match play) and C (5-10), but Team A (12-3) will siphon off talent, design and tactical concepts from its partner teams to improve its “mk. 2” robot, which is moving on in the competition.

“I was hoping for a bit of a better performance, but honestly it was good that we got to experience not reaching our expectations,” said Robotics Club President Gavin Garland ’18, the hardware captain for the Prep’s Mecha Eagles Team A. “Our team can use all the help we can get as we move closer to Southern New Englands, so everyone’s contributions will be essential. We were able to learn a lot from the competition, and the next month will be all about fixing our mistakes, and making improvements.”   

“Team A did great, but realized the importance of driver practice and the software team having the robot to itself for a good chunk of time before competition,” said Ms. Standring. “My faith in Team A has been increased. They are learning the lessons champions need to learn. Based on the conversations afterward, they are taking it all in and planning to make the changes necessary.”

For more information on how VEX robotics competition works, check out this story previewing November’s North Andover tournament.
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