Robotics teams plan for 2018 season following trip to World Championships

Unfortunately, neither the GaelHawks nor the SIStematics robotics teams from Shelton were crowned World Champions at the recent competition in St. Louis, Mo., but when they returned home they immediately began strategizing on how to become better teams from what they learned in their experience.

The Shelton High School students who make up the GaelHawks and the Shelton seventh graders who make up the SIStematics wasted no time in preparing for what’s next, following their time competing against teams from all over the world late last month.

Jacob Zamani, a junior at SHS and a member of the GaelHawks, said his team’s experience at the First Robotics Competition international championship helped it grow.

“Just being able to go was an amazing experience for us, and sure, we didn’t go as high as we wanted to, but out of the 75 teams that competed there, we finished 11th place and we made it to the elimination round, which is a huge accomplishment for any team, so it’s still a lot to be proud of,” said Jacob. “We had teams from France and Canada in our division, so it was really cool to be facing teams from all over the world and at the same time be facing the best of the best.”

Jacob said the team was eliminated by a team from Canada that was in its division and went on to lose in the final round of competition against a strong California team.

The SIStematic team didn’t place in the international competition, but members said they were proud of their performance.

SIStematics team member Diya Patel said that, overall, the competition was a great opportunity they’ve all learned from.

“The kids that are interested in robotics should know that our team is all about learning,” said Diya. “Even earlier competitions were all a part of our team’s learning experience. Winning is nice, but we learned a lot this season.”

Jacob said it was an awesome experience competing at the international level with another team from Shelton, but both teams are already focused on their next task.

“We have the same goal as this year for next year, but plan to learn from the experiences we gained this year to be that much better and hopefully finish even higher,” said Jacob.

Last year’s SHS robotics team lost a lot of seniors, according to Jacob, who said this year’s young team will benefit from being able to work together longer.

“The fact that we were even able to make it to the World Championships was incredible, but we did make a lot of mistakes and plan to learn from them and put them toward our robot for next year,” he said.

GaelHawks team member Jake Daxner said his team has an advantage going into next year’s competition, as members were exposed to what the best teams are capable of.

Playing in front of thousands of people was a first for both robotics teams. Both teams said the large crowd made them feel like professionals.

“It was intense at times, but a lot of fun overall,” said Jacob.

Moving forward

The young SIStematics said they’re currently analyzing their performance in St. Louis and thinking of strategies they can implement to become a better team.

“I’m most proud of our project, how well it turned out and the fact that we were able to get a provisional patent, but I think that moving toward next year, we’re all thinking about ways to do more community outreach,” said Connor Dapp.

Shelton robotics adviser John Niski said the GaelHawks are preparing for the Connecticut Championships in Guilford this coming weekend as well as thinking of ways to get involved in the community.

“We’ll be at SoupStock, we’ll be at Shelton Day,” said Niski. “We’re going to continue to spread our message out there and get people excited about science and robotics within the community.”

Both teams said their experience in the World Championships has inspired them to continue to challenge themselves and improve by learning from their mistakes.