RoboRaiders Team 75 History
Wolfgang Schneider, chair of the high school science department, found FIRST to be an unusual learning experience. Wolfgang noted: “This entire experience has accomplished exactly what its organizers said it would, that being, giving students hands-on experience with the sciences and engineering, while making the learning process engaging and fun.” The team, composed of fifteen Hillsborough High School students, accompanied by physics teacher Steve Grabowski, teamed up with engineers from Ethicon, Inc, a Johnson & Johnson company, to compete in the US FIRST National Championships. This team started a RoboRaiders tradition of excellence in competition that would be passed on to future teams.
Hillsborough High School teamed up with Ortho-Clinical Diagnostics to compete at the Mid-Atlantic Regional Competition at Rutgers University and at the National Competition at Epcot. The team, comprised of 40 students, one teacher and seventeen engineers achieved considerable success. They were champions at the Mid-Atlantic regional and won the Most Photogenic award as well. At Nationals, they placed 33rd.
The RoboRaiders returned in 1998 to defend their Mid-Atlantic Champion title. However, without the luxury of a single corporate sponsor, the team had to pool community resources and put in twice the effort to maintain productivity. The shop had been set up in an empty warehouse, converted into RoboRaiders Headquarters, complete with a computer lab and full arena. With the help of three engineers from Ortho Clinical Diagnostics, a fully participating parent support group and various professionals from the area, the team of over thirty students put together a powerful machine. With limited funds, Team RoboRaiders stuck together and worked hard on cost effective solutions. We finished a respectable 14th in the Mid-Atlantic Regional and the team managed to pull off a 25th place finish at Nationals.
The team’s first year with Johnson & Johnson Consumer Products and Personal Products Worldwide, and the awards speak for themselves. Fifteen students, one teacher, and a group of devoted, enthusiastic, and well versed engineers all came together to form a solid bond to build a robot. As solid as this bond was the robot: a versatile machine able to perform and withstand the toughest competitors in vigorous rounds of competition. The team was able to capture victory at the Mid-Atlantic regional, winning the event with alliance partner Team 89 (Pitt Crew). The team also went on to win the Motorola Quality in Engineering Award, and even the Best Offensive Round award. At Nationals, the team finished in ninth place and secured a Best Play of the Day award.
With the continued aid of Johnson & Johnson Consumer Products and Personal Products Worldwide, Team RoboRaiders continued their tradition of excellence. At the Mid-Atlantic regional, the team finished in sixth place and earned themselves the Most Photogenic award. They finished in the 12th spot at Nationals and won the prestigious Motorola Quality in Engineering Award.
Now in their third year with sponsor Johnson & Johnson Consumer Products and Personal Products Worldwide, the team was poised to have a terrific year. They did just that. At the Mid-Atlantic regional, they were crowned champions for the third time. They again took home the Motorola Quality in Engineering Award. With high hopes, the team set out for the Nationals in Epcot. Their success continued, and they managed to win the Curie Division. They placed third overall at the competition and took home two awards: Best Use of Aluminum (as voted by Team 5) and Best Engineered Gear Train (as voted by team #174).
The team wanted to build a robot that could do it all. Unfortunately, the lack of feature focus left the team with a mediocre year robot-wise. However, for the first time, the team took home the Entrepreneurship Award at the Mid-Atlantic Competition. They went on to compete at the Nationals in Epcot. This would be the last time Epcot hosted the national competition.
Team RoboRaiders saw tremendous growth in all of it’s subgroups in 2003. The website was updated with a newly created forum for easier communication. The animation and inventor teams were also growing rapidly. The animation team was able to win the Autodesk Visualization Award at the Long Island and Mid-Atlantic regional. The team received a noteworthy second at both Chesapeake Regional and the BAE Regional. The team enjoyed moderate success with it’s robot at the Mid-Atlantic regional. The team set off for Houston (the new home of Nationals) with a group of primarily seniors and freshman. The team went undefeated in their division, but sadly, was not picked by an alliance to move on to the semifinals. However, spirits were raised again after the team won the national Autodesk Inventor Design Award. The team was rewarded not only with the grand prize laptop and several copies of Autodesk Inventor, but was given the opportunity to have their work featured on Autodesk promotional material!
New challenges arose with the vastly decreased number of four and three year members. With the team comprised almost entirely of freshman and sophomores, there was a distinct lack of experience. The difficulties were overcome, however, and the team managed to put out animation, inventor, and chairman’s entries. The team also competed in two separate regionals for the first time. Unfortunately, on shipping day, the robot left the warehouse with a few bugs still left in it. Engineers and students worked at a feverish pace to fix the robot at the competition. By the end of the first regional, the Mid-Atlantic Competition, the robot was finally hanging (the marquee feature of the robot.) A few weeks later, they entered the Philadelphia Regional. The robot had inconsistent success in the qualifying rounds, but moved on to the quarterfinals. The team fought hard to move into the semifinals, but came up short in one of the closest matches of the day. The year ended on a high note, however, with the organization of a revived parent group.
The 2005 season was a new and exciting year for the RoboRaiders with a lot of hurdles to overcome. Although the team had gained a significant number of veteran members over the previous year, we had no 4th year members to lead us. This meant there was a new line of leaders and captains on the team. Although this was a bit of a task to overcome we managed to perform very well at the competitions. At the New Jersey Regional we placed 3rd overall, and won the AutoDesk Visualization Award. The team also traveled to Atlanta for the Nationals. Here we placed 16th out of 85 teams in our division and also won MOE’s team spirit award. We also came in the top 8 for our AutoDesk Visualization and Inventor submissions. During the off season, the team went on to compete at the Duel on the Delaware competition for the fist time, and won 1st place along with teams 222 and 1721. Just a few weeks later, the team traveled to North Brunswick to compete in Brunswick Eruption. Again, overcoming major odds, the team took home the trophy along with teams 358 and 369. Overall this year was a huge success and we hope to continue it into the 2006 season.
Trenton, NJ Regional: The robot was very successful and advanced to the semi-finals with teams 233 and 522. The drive team did an excellent job creating a solid defensive strategy against their opponents. The pit crew kept the robot running at peak performance throughout the competition. The cheering of the RoboRaiders reverberated throughout the stadium, and the judges took note. An excellent chairman’s presentation and quick answers to judges’ questions in the pits gave Team 75 their first ever Engineering Inspiration Award. This is the second highest honor FIRST bestows upon a team. Because of this award, the team qualified to compete at the National competition for the second year in a row.
Boston Regional: At the first annual Boston regional at the Agganis Arena at Boston University, Team 75 had an unforgettable 3-day experience. The RoboRaiders had an amazing time finishing 21st out of 44 teams and holding a workshop designed to assist the 14+ rookie teams attending the competition. At the end of the competition Team 75 was able to take home the Autodesk Visualization award for the 4th time in 4 years. In addition to the AVA the RoboRaiders made history by winning the Engineering Inspiration award for the second time in a season, which no other team has done.
FIRST Championship: The RoboRaiders capped off an exciting FIRST season at the 2006 FRC Championship event in Atlanta, GA. The RoboRaiders finished, with the support of the members in the stands, a respectable 47th place out of 86 teams in their division. The competition was fierce. The pit crew did an excellent job maintaining the robot and making sure it was ready for every match. The drivers perfectly executed a sound strategy every match. The programmers did a great job attempting to add camera capabilities to the robot. The inventor team received excellent feedback from the Autodesk representatives at the event. The Autodesk judges placed the RoboRaiders’ Inventor entry in the top three out of the numerous entries submitted. This year team #75 supported 4 FLL Teams with three of them winning awards. The team was allowed to display the Web Excellence banner on their web site for the first time.
Trenton, NJ Regional: This past year has been by far our most successful year. The students, parents, faculty and mentors have work hard together to achieve success. At the New Jersey Regional this team took home the Top honors of the NJ Regional with a Chairman’s Award win. They also were successful in winning the AutoDesk Visualization award. This team has been victorious 5 times in the past 5 years with this award. The Robot ended up 4th seed at the New Jersey Regional. The Team also won two Peer team awards for support, partnering and aesthetics. The Team was recognized by the New Jersey Legislature on the field. The Resolution was passed by both houses of NJ Legislature recognizing the importance of education and technology in the state of NJ. AJR 134/SJR 66 – Technology Innovation Week (TIW).
Chesapeake Regional: The team went to Chesapeake with there heads held high. They were success on the field and in the program. They knew that strategy was all too important. They had reconfigured there strategy approach and placed the emphasis on real time data. They would then analyze this data and report to the drivers. The team seeded third and was picked by the FIRST place team and was courted by the second place team. The decision was; who would we like to partner with or do we do this on our own. We accepted the first place teams’ invitation. After losing the first match of the quarterfinals it was then history. The Drivers, strategy and Pit teams worked flawlessly. The team had just won the First Regional since 2001. During the matches the judges told us we were Runners-up for the Underwriters Laboratories Industrial Safety Award and we were handed pins to wear. Another honor was then bestowed to the Team; we had just won the General Motors Industrial Design.
“The General Motors Industrial Design award celebrates form and function in an efficiently designed machine that effectively achieves the game challenge.
One of the top scores, this team developed an elegant, well-constructed and robust machine that included a unique claw design, an articulating tower and a 'smokin' control system that drove a fast maneuverable machine. Design engineering, enthusiasm, sportsmanship and teamwork -- this machine did it all!
Congratulations Team # 75, The RoboRaiders”
This award enables the team to be eligible to be published in the FIRST Design Book. This created additional work for the tem but with a potentially good outcome. The team would then be immortalized in print.
The weekend was flawless, Team 75 on Thursday helped over 40 teams with 130+ requests, and we put robots on the floor. Some of these robots could not pass through inspection. One Team in particular that was helped they could not pass through inspection, Team 1893 this was a team from the inner city of Baltimore. This Team went on to place 5th in the competition ultimately to be eliminated.
Additionally, the Robot was then invited to be presented at Washington DC’s Metro Department. Over 22 judges, 6 referees, 6 VIP’s visited Team 75. The referees stop the robot at the end of a match for photographs. The “Secretary of Commerce” Secretary Carlos M. Gutierrez from the Presidents Cabinet http://www.commerce.gov/opa/press/Secretary_Gutierrez/2007_Releases/March/16_Gutierrez_Robotics_rls.html) visited two Teams on Friday and we were one of them. David Lavery - Program Executive for Solar System Exploration, NASA was another guest of Team 75 and he captured no less than 50 photos of Team 75’s robot at the pit and countless on the field. The team additionally made it on the Annapolis local news on Friday night (3/17/07) CBS 13(WJZ) the local news ran a story on the 2007 Chesapeake FIRST Regional Competition, with numerous video clips of Team 75, here is a link to the site http://wjz.com/seenon/local_story_075152422.html. With all this completed we could have called it a successful weekend.
FIRST Championship: The RoboRaiders season was an exciting FIRST season at the 2007 FRC Championship event in Atlanta, GA. The competition again was fierce and they had our number. The pit crew did an excellent job maintaining the robot and making sure it was ready for every match. All did an outstanding job. The inventor team was informed that we were in the top five. We were invited to a lunch with AutoDesk. We had received excellent feedback from the AutoDesk representatives at the event. The team was allowed to display the Web Excellence banner on their web site the second year in a row.
One of the major accomplishments to the team is a program called WISE (Women in Science & Engineering) has had its second debut at Hillsborough High School and has been requested in three additional schools. This program enables high school women to communicate with women professionals in a “one on one” environment. The goal of this program is the increase in the number of women interested in the sciences and engineering fields. The success of the program has doubled the participation of women on our FIRST robotics program.
The team was allowed to display the Web Excellence banner on their web site the second year in a row.
This year’s team has 67 members with 17 young women & 50 young men. Good Luck Team 75!!
Trenton, NJ Regional: This year was a tough year. The team did their best. We had struggled through the build season and the six weeks felt like three. We went to NJ with our game faces on. The first match we were in, an opponent’s Robot came from across the field and hit the wall. Our controls went flying, the electronics had been jarred and something was loose. Because of this action and what had just occurred to Team 75, FIRST had changed the rules. Operators were allowed to protect their operator control stations. Our next match was disheartening, because the unseen damage and the robot did some crazy thing in autonomous mode and the arm crashed into the computer. Then the mechanics started to fail. We broke four drive shafts in four matches. The team held their heads high and remained professional. The Team focused on what we do best by helping others in technical areas, provide business solutions and were “Gracious Professionals”. Because of these actions we were selected to win the Kleiner, Perkins, Caufield and Byers Entrepreneurship Award for providing the best business model. Team 75 also had three state resolutions bestowed to FIRST through their efforts in working with the state legislature.
Chesapeake Regional: We regrouped from NJ and the team utilized their training from FPX (Flawless Project Execution) and analyzed the setbacks. They assembled a new offensive plan and went to Chesapeake with a regional championship in mind. We had arrived in Chesapeake and the field had many rookies and teams who were overwhelmed with this year’s competition. Once again we focused on putting our friends on the field, and like last year many teams could not pass inspection, thirty two in all. Team 75 helped eighteen teams pass inspection. Team 75 sent a special invitation to John W Dudas (Under Secretary of Commerce for Intellectual Property and Director of the United States Patent and Trademark Office) and he attended and sought out Team 75. The competition then started and we fought from the heart. We had achieved ninth place and finally settled in at thirteenth after all the dust settled. We were selected by the seventh place team and had lost in the quarterfinals. Our partner broke its shooting mechanism but it was a great effort. This competition was not over. One of our Safety Captains won the safety Star of the day. This was a collaborated effort from many. The team was approached by a Judge in the stands and was thanked for their sportsmanship and acknowledgments to the other teams. The team had written an essay about their mentor Carmine Rizzo to FIRST. Based on this essay the Woody Flowers committee selected him as the top regional mentor and he was presented with the elusive Woody Flowers Award. He was never so proud of the students the he had partnered with. The team then was then selected to be The Engineering Inspiration Winners. This is the Second Place award at the competition behind the Chairman’s award.
FIRST Championship: It is with great pleasure that we report to you that the RoboRaiders robotics team ended the 2008 robotics season as strong as ever. Although this year was seen as a rebuilding year as we had 37 incoming freshman, the team returned from the Championship Event in Atlanta, GA with an impressive list of accomplishments. Please read on to learn more about the Team’s accomplishments.
The RoboRaiders were awarded the 'Johnson & Johnson Gracious Professionalism Award’, which celebrates outstanding sportsmanship and gracious professionalism in the heat of competition, both on and off the playing field (A very prestigious award!). There were almost 350 teams competing at the Championship and only about 20 awards given out. These teams were the best at the regional’s and had won their way to compete at the Championship. This award acknowledges the incredible effort that our students and mentors have exerted during each of this year's competitions that ensured countless robotics teams were able to participate in the competition.
Many exciting things happened in Atlanta. Here is a quick re-cap:
1) Former President Bush was present for opening ceremonies on Friday! He has been a supporter of FIRST since its beginning in 1992.
2) The robot performed very well, the drivers and pit crews did an excellent job, and everyone had a great time. We had some extremely exciting matches during Friday and Saturday. Although everyone did his or her part, Team 75 was not ranked very high by the end of the seeding matches and was not chosen by an alliance for the finals.
3) The Chairman's Judges awarded 4 of Team 75’s members with a recognition pin for Gracious Professionalism. (Rohith Surampudi, Brittany Capalbo, Rebecca Doyle and Carmine Rizzo).
4) The RoboRaiders also received 4 'Team Issued Awards’:
- Safest Pit Award - awarded by Team 45 from Kokomo, IN
- Gracious Professionalism Award - awarded by Team 203 from Sicklerville, NJ
- Best Alliance Partner - awarded by Team 703 from Saginaw, MI
- (3) 'Bird of Friendship' Awards from Team 2629 from Queretaro, Mexico; they were awarded to: Rebecca Doyle, Ali Duch and Brittany Capalbo.
This year’s team had 60 members with 17 young women & 43 young men. A re-cap this year’s achievements are as follows:
Trenton, NJ Regional
- Team 75 was requested by FIRST to help diagnose field problems with our robot.
- At the request of NJ FIRST, The RoboRaiders were honored to escort VIP’s throughout the day.
- Brittany Capalbo, co-Captain, was crowned “Safety Star of the Day” for the distribution of the RoboRaiders gift of First Aid Kits to each participating team.
- The RoboRaiders were seeded #12 out of 61 teams! We were chosen by the Alliance Captain of Team 1228 to join with Team 816 to form a quarterfinal alliance.
- Team 75 was awarded “Best Website” for the appearance and wealth of information contained at www.roboraiders.com.
- Team 75’s Robot appeared on the Channel 9 news.
- The Saturday Star Ledger featured a front-page illustration of Team 75’s drivers along with their robot. http://www.nj.com/mercer/index.ssf/2009/02/robots_do_battle_at_annual_fir.html
- The RoboRaiders hosted an information table to spread the Women in Science and Engineering (WISE) program to other teams. Our WISE information table attracted over 150 visits, and taught other teams how to adopt WISE for their teams.
- Team 75 received a Joint Resolution by Assembly members Biondi, Coyle, and Bateman, in recognition of the RoboRaiders’ efforts and achievements in advancing Science and Technology in our schools, communities, and region. We are working with the government to once again recognize Technology Innovation Week, in its 3rd year since inception.
- Two of our RoboRaiders were honored on the field along with Don Bot – a small robot built to honor mentor Don Wells for his tireless machining and mentoring contributions to the team. Don was given a tool kit as an award, but with Team 75’s tradition of helping others, Don donated the tools to Team 1617 from Newark. They had few tools when Team 75 was working with them on their robot. This 6’ – 6” mentor from team 1617 shed a tear when Don shared his reward.
- Team 75 had been identified as runner-up for the Underwriters Laboratory Industrial Safety Award.
- Finally, the RoboRaiders received the “Johnson & Johnson Gracious Professionalism Award” – celebrating outstanding sportsmanship and continuous gracious professionalism in the heat of competition, both on and off the field. Here’s what the judges had to say: “This team has been a model partner by extending their hand of friendship to the wide majority of teams in this year’s NJ Regional Competition, and they have “WISE-ly” built a solid foundation to inspire young women to enter the fields of engineering, mathematics, and science. We applaud the team’s effort to encourage the spirit of unity by “RAIDING” through the competition!” This award is a reflection not on the efforts of a select group of students, but the attitude and competitive spirit that the entire team carried throughout the event.
- Team 75 hosted its WISE Information Booth during the Team Showcase, which attracted visitors who we will reach out to in order to spread WISE in the Baltimore and DC area alliances.
- Team 75 continued to dedicate support in helping other teams in need through the qualification matches.
- Team 75 hosted a bike building activity, where volunteers from each Robotics team collaborated to build 12 bikes to be donated to the Boys and Girls Club of Baltimore, Ann Arundel County.
- Team 75 donated First-Aid Kits to each team’s pit, ensuring Safety FIRST!
- Team 75 was chosen by Alliance Captain 2866 because of our strength in strategy, robot performance, and gracious professionalism with mentoring their team throughout the competition. The two alliance members then chose Team 2377, to form elimination-round Alliance #3 out of 8. This well-balanced alliance made it to the semi-finals before being eliminated. It was a great experience for all to have been chosen by a team who we mentored throughout the competition.
- Three team members from Team 75 presented the Chairman’s presentation to the judges, and as a result, our pits were consistently attended by FIRST judges.
- Team 75 was presented with the second-most prestigious award presented at a regional: The Engineering Inspiration Award. Here’s what the judges had to say:
“This team has deep roots in FIRST, and even deeper roots in their community. Working from their credo, they have developed a following…supporters from their community follow them from event to event. They have jump-started an entire region of FIRST Lego League Teams, and have spurred legislators to think of STEM first as they map out the future of technology education in their state. They have built a sustainable pipeline of science and engineering activities – and their entire community calls them “our robotics team.” This team was a little distracted this morning – since they along with many other teams were assembling bikes they bought for the Boys and Girls Club … but they’ve had time to win the Engineering Inspiration Award!”
Atlanta National Championships
- This year, Team 75 was honored to qualify for the FIRST Championship by receiving a regional Engineering Inspiration award, recognizing the team’s success in advancing respect and appreciation for engineering/engineers within their school and community.
- The Teddy Award was presented to The animation Team for the “Best Use of Materials”
- Website Excellence Award
- Heart Award for being a team with Heart – for assisting other teams on and off the field.