This past week, the Pioneer Robotics Team traveled to Detroit to compete in Worlds... The outcome? Well, let's hear from the team's faculty advisor, Dr. Edward Tonelli '82 whose recap is sure to give your chill bumps... chill bumps!
This is an enormous thank you to the entire SJ Community for all you have been doing for the students on the Robotics team, preceded by some ridiculously good news:
The results are in: Pioneer Robotics is the 20th ranked FIRST FTC robot in the entire world. That's out of 320 teams that qualified for world championship competition and out of over 6,000 teams from 71 countries from around the world.
BUT--Hold on to you seats:
PIONEER ROBOTICS IS THE NUMBER ONE ROBOT IN THE WORLD IN AUTONOMOUS PROGRAMMING! You have read this correctly--by a comfortable margin, the Pioneers designed, built, and programmed the best robot on earth at completing this year's tasks while running without human input. It is an enormously important component in the overall performance. (Each round, a robot has 2 1/2 minutes to complete a set of tasks. For the first 30 seconds, the robot must move about without human input--the "autonomous" part of each match. Afterwards, two drivers run the robot for an additional 2 minutes to do more tasks). At worlds, the Pioneer's robot performed perfectly--flawlessly--without a single mistake over the course of 9 qualifying rounds.
Our goal was to achieve a top-25 performance overall. Check. Our goal was also to compete in the elimination rounds. We did not make these rounds. In the 9 preliminary rounds, we finished 7-2 after a series of amazingly bad breaks and no breaks in our favor, including having our radio frequency jammed by a cheating opponent (Officials were unable to determine who did the jamming, but after a lot of prayer and three appeals, they gave SJ and partner a chance to replay the match, and the Pioneers buried their competition in the re-match). In spite of the difficulties, the boys were resilient and kept slamming away round after round. We ended up 12th in our division and were in a great position to be selected for the semi-final competition.
After prelims, the top 4 teams in each of 2 divisions select partners for the semi-finals from the other teams in the division. After the Prelims, members of these 4 teams visited the Pioneers to check out our robot, and one of these teams assured us that they were going to choose us for the elimination rounds. Two other teams expressed great interest as well. At alliance selection, the team who had made the offer to us reneged on that offer in front of some 5,000 in the audience, selecting, instead, the 31st best team from the division, passing over us, who were 12th. In the semi-finals, that team and partner were soundly beaten. If only, if only... Our boys were shocked and understandably dissatisfied.
After all the semis and finals were completed, FTC, who runs this whole operation, computed the average numbers of all 320 teams to compete in the world championships, and when these numbers came in, they showed Pioneer Robotics to be ranked #20 in the world, and NUMBER ONE in autonomous programming.
Judges and teams make mistakes, but the final statistics are complete and will never change, as the year's competitions are finished and in the books for good!
If you see them in the hallways, please congratulate seniors Max Vinzi, Syon Khosla, Millan Taranto, Ryan Rivard, and Victor Szabo; Juniors Allen Naliath, Jan Jacob, Ningrui Yang, Varun Subbiah, sophomores Alex Johnson, Muneeb Syed, Keerat Sawhney, and Freshmen Marcks Cai, Tony Yang, Brendan Galvin. AJ Claibourne, Simon Donkor, and Max Yan were also on the team this year, but did participate in the final run-up to worlds.
Again, THANK YOU to everyone who subbed my classes, accommodated for participants' school work, and in so, so many ways have supported Pioneer Robotics to this amazing beginning set of chapters in its story. Thanks to Alex for his initial go-ahead on the program, from giving it space in the Maker Space before the team even existed, to getting alumni support and good reporting from the Telegram, to giving us financial help and visiting the boys after school as they have worked. Thanks for the administration and business office for planning the logistics and finances, and especially to Mr. Marsan who coordinated all the travel arrangements and made many, many adjustments as the events transpired. But thanks especially for your prayers. the 18-hour-a-day schedule, preceded by a spring vacation full or long hours of work left the boys exhausted, but the Lord renewed their physical and mental strength over and over again over the course of the year and over the days of the competition.
We of Pioneer Robotics are so, so grateful for having been blessed with this opportunity, and are blessed also to be able to report an astronomical success. God has been with us every step of the way, giving the boys their strength, their talents, their love for one-another, and for their love of hard work and applied science. He has been so good to us!!