groton pictureOn March 8-9 the Aluminum Falcons hosted their first District Event at Fitch High School in Groton. To prepare for this event the team had to do a lot of work. Head coach Mr. Chidley spent months setting up plans for the pits and competition field layout in the gym. Without his remarkable efforts this event could not have happened. At the same time the mechanical and programming teams were working to finish the robot for the event. The marketing team worked diligently to get special guest speakers such as State Representative Elisa Wright, Dr.Garner, and Congressman Joe Courtney to appear. The boosters also helped out by setting up the concessions for the event. On the day of competition everyone was nervously double and triple checking everything. Everyone arrived early to turn the cafeteria into the concessions area, the library into a VIP room for the special guests, the small gym into a pit area, and to post direction signs everywhere.

Everything competition related was finished with the exception of our robot in part because the team was so focused on making sure the event would be a success. The mechanical team worked tirelessly to complete the already half built robot the night before the competition just to find out “Lance” was seven pounds overweight. The Falcons worked hard to rectify this problem and although it was solved there were other issues to contend with. The robot was completely untested. The drive team had never driven the robot and a few calibrations were off so during qualification matches the accuracy of the robot’s catapult mechanism suffered.

Despite these issues the Falcons worked hard and ended qualification matches ranked seventh with a record of 8-4. During alliance selection the Falcons moved up to the fifth picking position and chose Team 125 Nutrons and Team 5112 Gongoliers to compete with us during the elimination rounds. However, the alliance was defeated in the quarterfinals. Despite this early exit, the mechanical and CAD teams were awarded for their hard work with the Creativity Award, which celebrated the team’s unique design aspects.

Our coaches and mentors expressed their gratitude of how hard we worked and all that we accomplished. Co-head coach Josh Miller commented, “This was the best experience seeing the team come together with the community.” It was an incredible experience hosting our first event and the team is eager to continue bringing robotics and STEM to the students of Groton and beyond. The team would like to thank all the faculty and staff at Fitch High School that helped make this event possible. This competition was an inspiration to work harder and improve the robot in preparation for our next event in Rhode Island. One of the head mechanical students, Cameron Wilhelm, had this to say about the competition and the season overall, “For Team 2168 the season is never over, we always find ways to make ourselves better.”



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