The McCutcheon High School Robotics team hopes all the bugs are worked out so their robot, “La Cucaracha,” (cockroach) will be impossible to kill as they compete in the FIRST Championship in Houston, Texas later this month. FIRST Robotics Competition Team 4272 will be among 600 teams including some from around the world including Israel, Poland, Turkey and Japan.
During the regular season, the team won one of their two district competitions and finished fourth at the district championships (state). This was enough to earn them a fifth place finish in the state for the season.
This year’s game, “Charged Up,” challenges teams to build a robot to pick up and place mini traffic cones on pegs and pick up and place inflatable cubes on shelves. At the end of the match, the robot must drive onto the charge station (a wide teeter-totter of sorts) and balance on it with other robots.
“The goal of Project Cockroach is to build a robust robot that will always work to its full potential on the field so, even when something is not working perfectly, we are still one of the best robots on the field,” says sophomore team member Connor Menon. “To prepare for the world championship we are not making any major changes, just making system checks and making sure that everything is working.”
This year the team is focused on a consistent performance which has led to them winning the Quality Award at each of their last three competitions. “We plan to try and win this award again at the world championship by showing that our performance is consistent and our robot can withstand rigorous gameplay,” says team captain Kaia Webb. “We hope that the world championship will be a valuable educational experience for our students. We are very excited to compete among world-class teams, and we hope to do well and possibly even win the division we are assigned.”
Teacher sponsor Zach McKeever says this is McCutcheon’s first appearance at the World Championship since 2017. “I hope this is an experience that will push them to their competitive limits while also encouraging them to explore and engage with people from around the world.”