The LHS Robotics team 1058 played to win at the FIRST POWER UP, the 2018 FIRST Robotics Competition, over the weekend of March 1-3. Despite some minor technical difficulties, the PVC Pirates showed exemplary skill and strategy, and most importantly, their ability to be team players.
“Start to finish the kids worked hard,” said the Pirates’ Mentor of Computer Aid Design, Strategy, and Business, Brendan Browne. He recapped the events of the competition, from the students getting right to work from the very moment they hit the pit Friday night, to their consistent placement in the top 10 throughout the event.
Browne explained that the Pirates had lost in the final round, as for the only time during the two days it had been operating, the Pirates’ robot had experienced a system failure.
“It literally went into the corner and said, ‘I’m not playing anymore,’” joked Kenny Kutney, the Business, Outreach, Awards, and Software Mentor to Team 1058. He further commented on how impressed he was by how the students handled the crisis, going from dominating the competition to the sudden speedbump which ultimately cost them the win.
“It can be a lot of disappointment,” Kutney said, “But their spirit after was great! They were looking forward to taking the robot back to the shop, troubleshooting it, and seeing how they can improve. That’s a wonderful thing from a mentor’s perspective.”
Though they did not go home with first place after the competition, the LHS PVC Pirates were presented with the Gracious Professionalism Award for their efforts to help their allies from Wolfeboro, NH and Sharon, VT, as well as the teams they were in complete competition with. “(the award) is aimed at recognizing building each other up instead of working alone,” explained Browne, adding that the Pirates were not only being recognized for their gracious professionalism during the event, but also in their support for other teams in the community. Browne said that Team 1058 provides resources to help other teams with communication, with making parts, programming, and with crafting essays for award submissions.
“It was impressive to see them work to help other teams,” Browne went on, explaining that on the final day between the qualification and elimination rounds, the top teams are usually putting all of their focus in forming strategies for victory, but the LHS PVC Pirates put more of their energy into making sure that other teams had everything they needed to perform at their best.
“That’s what FIRST is all about,” said Kutney, “It’s more about helping teams and sharing tools and experience than about doing what it takes to win.”
The next stop for the PVC Pirates Team 1058 is a second qualifying event to be held at Reading Memorial High School in Reading, MA from Friday, March 16 through Sunday, March 18. From there, Browne is confident that based on the events of last weekend, the Pirates would see the District Championship at Boston University.
For more information on the LHS PVC Pirates, and for a calendar of upcoming events, visit team1058.com.