Building a team

The High School Robotics Team had a mini robotics competition and is excited to be back after the pandemic cancelled numerous competitions over the last two years.

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Sam Coyle

The Robotics team had their first mini meet after a season of cancellations last year.

Packing their wrenches and loading their drills, twenty students and one coach of the Cannon Falls High School Robotics Team, the Bomb Botz, set off at 6:00 am on Saturday, November 20th, to Prior Lake High School and competed in the Minne Mini Regional Robotics Competition. After an entirely virtual season last year, the team was excited to finally get back in-person and use the robot they had built 2 year previous in competition again.

At the Minne Mini Preseason Regional, the team won 5 of their 8 matches and placed 16th out of 36; however, the preseason event had other successes in the eyes of the team other than placement. 

Many of the members of the Robotics team have never been to a robotics competition after the pandemic’s cancellation of the past two years’ robotics events with just seven of the students having any experience at a regional. Thus, the team hoped to expose its new members to all aspects of robotics competition. One way the Bomb Botz achieved this goal was have mutiple people driving the robot during matches. Conner Loeschke, a Cannon Falls senior and new member of the Bomb Botz who was able to drive at the event, said “My favorite part of the Minne-Mini was driving in the rounds.” Along with driving skills and on-field experiences, the team relearned how to repair the robot with time constraints, work with other schools’ teams, and scout matches to gain valuable data about future matches.

“My favorite part of the Minne-Mini was driving in the rounds.””

— Connor Loeschke

Coach Joe Coyle viewed the event with the “goal of giving new team members an understanding of how a FIRST competition works. Most of our team hadn’t been to a competition and none had experience on the field as a drive team member … With these goals in mind, the event was a huge success.”

However, over the coming weeks, the team’s 130 pound robot will be dismantled and the parts will be repurposed for the new season which starts on January 8th of 2022. The team is participating in the world wide competition FRC hosted by FIRST Inspires, where a different game is announced at the beginning of each calendar year. Then, thousands of students around the world work until the end of February to design, build, and program a robot to compete through the month of March. Due to the pandemic, however, the 2021 season was completely virtual and a repeat of the 2020 game, Infinite Recharge. As a result, the Bomb Botz have not built a robot from scratch in 2 years. Coyle has reported “Leaving Infinite Recharge behind does feel good … I’m really looking forward to the kick-off January 8th and the design sessions that follow.” The Minne Mini Regional was the team’s last participation in the Infinite Recharge event and they are looking to the future to continue building the life long skills developed from constructing a robot.