Iron patriots go to worlds for the first time

Betsy Faris, Publicity Director

The Liberty Robotics team has always seen themselves as the rookie team, but after the Worlds competition on April 26-30 in St. Louis, Missouri, the team can no longer see themselves as the rookie. The team placed 42nd out of 75 on their field, and there were over 600 teams competing on eight different fields.
“Being in the presence of all of these teams who have had time to grow was so amazing because we were able to learn from them and get a better understanding of how robotics works,” senior Sean Szymanski said.
The challenge this year was to create a robot that could pick up a ten inch boulder and then shoot it into a hoop that was roughly a foot and a half tall by a foot wide. The robot had to be able to cross several different obstacles, such as a draw bridge and a moat.
“The robot had two folding arms that came down that enabled a roller to roll the boulder into the robot, and then the ball would move through the robot until it hit two wheels, called a flywheel, and when we pushed the trigger it would move the ball into the flywheel and shoot it into the goal,” Sean Szymanski said.
A lot of preparation has gone into the Robotics team’s journey to Worlds. Members were staying until eight every day after school leading up to the competition.
“Worlds was such a great experience because it was our team’s first time going, so it was really special,” sophomore Joe Bergin said.
At a past regional competition, the team didn’t do as well as they had hoped. Since then, the team has grown significantly, making it to worlds in only five years.
“Making it to worlds established us as not a rookie team anymore,”Szymanski said. “We used to be the team that was just in its beginning stages, but now were that team that will be able to compete with other big teams around the area.”
Despite the team’s newfound success and growth, it has kept in my mind attitudes towards competition.
“One of the greatest aspects of robotics is the idea of gracious professionalism,” club advisor Todd Oney said. “We encourage our team not to be as cutthroat as a sports team, but to encourage competition that is fair. For example, if a robot breaks down on the field, we would offer our help to get the other team’s robot working again so we could compete against them.”