Iron Patriots look to crush the competition en route to Worlds

Kylie McGrath, Editorial Board Member

After spending six weeks in build season, Liberty’s Robotics’ work has paid off with a successful season. They aspire to carry this momentum to the World Championship, where they would compete against the best of the best.

While they are widely known for their t-shirt cannon that riles up the crowds at LHS sports games, Liberty’s Robotics Team (the Iron Patriots) also sends robots into competition.

“The Iron Patriots do more than build robots,” President of the Iron Patriots, senior Vachan Shah said. “We hope to have lifelong impacts on our team members when it comes to engineering skills and soft skills.”

The process of registering for competition itself is a whole different task that requires members to display crucial communication and presentation skills. For example, robotics students must initiate conversation with businesses, request sponsorships, and apply for grants, all to fund their build and competitive season.

According to Vice President of the Iron Patriots, junior Aniket Singh, build season consists of six weeks of intensive preparation to present a robot that will be going against others in the competitive season. 

“This is the most uniting time for a robotics team member,” Shah said. “We spend 30 hours a week after school designing and constructing a robot.” 

During build season, meeting on the weekend work sessionss also become a part of the team’s schedule, with meetings starting at 12:00 PM and finishing eight hours later. Time spent after school and on the weekends is dedicated to each subteam to work on their designated tasks, whether it be the robot’s hardware, design or even the team’s outreach. 

“Different from prior years, we managed to build two robots instead of just one,” junior Zachary Battis said. “While we are practicing and testing the motions with one, the other can be worked on at the same time, but with its software and mechanics.” 

The two robots are named after the moons orbiting Mars, Phobos, and Deimos. In its first competition, Phobos successfully took second, along with the prestigious Engineering Inspiration award, among 34 teams by accumulating as many points as possible in a couple of tasks. These tasks include strategically placing cones and blocks on different tiers of different point values and balancing on a seesaw-like structure. 

“Every year, our team makes it to the District Championships, but this year we want to step up and perform well at every single competition to reach our goal of getting to the World Championships,” Shah said. 

The competitive season is made up of two or three normal, no-stakes competitions. Following that, there is the District Championships, where if a team succeeds, they move on to the next and final stage: the World Championships, more commonly referred to as ‘Worlds’. With just a few more competitions this season, the Iron Patriots have high hopes for the remainder of it.