WiredCats Semi-Final Finish at South Florida Robotics Championship!

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Astounding amounts of hard work, dedication and extracurricular time have gone into the production of the Western Robotics’s small robot, acknowledged as 6322. The Wiredcats’s efforts boiled down to the performance of 6322 in the South Florida FTC Robotics Championship, hosted at our own Western High School gymnasium. The result? The Wiredcats placed in the semi-finals, and 12th in the State, out of 128 teams!

Saturday, January 17th – Eighteen different teams from across South Florida gathered in the Western High School cafeteria to prepare for the competition that would determine the skill of the robots and their creators alike. The game they would soon play, referred to as the CASCADE EFFECTSM, consisted of a square field adorned with ramps, parking zones, scoring tubes referred to as ‘rolling goals’ and a central ball dispenser referred to as the ‘center goal’. Teams would be randomly paired into either Red or Blue alliances and would compete against each other to score the most points within a time limit of two minutes and thirty seconds.


The Wiredcats showed great enthusiasm as they prepared for the initial qualifying matches.


“We’ve been working at this since the beginning of the year, nonstop.” Kevin Tran, a Wiredcat, had said. “We take much pride in our work." “We have confidence in ourselves,” Perry Kaplin, also a Western Wiredcat, added. “There’s tough competition but we’ll pull through.” The excitement did not stop with our own school. “This is the best thing,” Barbara Groh from the Terra Environmental Research Institute had said. “It’s a mind sport.”

The teams who would pass on Saturday would continue to States, who could then attempt to proceed to Regional and then World Championships.
From ten am to six pm did the teams test their comprehension of robots, intelligence in directing movement and ability to dance during qualification and elimination matches. Some of the fierce competition was felt from teams such as The Children of the Swamp from Riviera Beach, Greased Lightning from Weston, The RoboRaiders from Ft. Lauderdale, Teenage Mutual Robot Builders from Miami and Team Half-Life from Miami. The Wiredcats clawed their way to a position in the semi-finals where, despite their vehement efforts, they were eliminated.
The coach of the Wiredcats was Zachary Dean. The drivers of robot 6322 were Michael Benben and Nicolas Buitrago.
When asked about reactions to their defeat, Michael had been quick to answer. “I didn’t quite expect to make it. The fact that [the Wiredcats] became a team and strategized and become close like a family is amazing."
Zachary Dean had stated that the tem would be able to “learn from this [loss]”. He looked forward to producing a “better, stronger team.”
We look forward to what the Wiredcats produce in the future, and are proud of your advancement to the semifinals. Congratulations, Western Robotics!

-Haven McKenney, Contributor

Pictures courtesy of Tatiana