The Lincoln Academy 2021-22 Robotic Team. From left: Grady Burns, Henry Maddox, Ryan Naylor, Coach Susan Levesque, Ryan Sullivan, Connor Parson, Joseph Levesque, Owen Dyer, Jake Shaw, Austin Levesque, Jackson Ross, and CJ Colomb.
On Saturday February 5, the Lincoln Academy robotics team traveled with two robots to Monmouth Memorial School to compete in the Monmouth VEX Qualifier competition. At the tournament 31 teams competed in a game that is designed by VEX robotics every season.
The 2021-22 VEX Robotics game has three primary objectives: picking up goals and moving them to your side of the ring, and balancing them on a beam, and loading the goals up with rings.
“In the beginning we focused on picking up the rings, but midseason we ended up switching to focus more on picking up the goals,” said senior Owen Dyer, who captains one of the LA robots. “Moving the goals, which are heavier, was a better strategy for scoring points. We still got a few rings during the opening autonomous period, but once robots are going head to head that took too much time, so it was easier just to push our way through.”
The LA team has been working on programming their robots since September, when they were given the 2021-22 task. Robot 8030A was built and programmed by seniors Owen Dyer, Ryan Naylor, Ryan Sullivan, and Jake Shaw, sophomore Jackson Ross, and freshman Joseph Levesque. Robot 8030B was built and programmed by juniors Grady Burns, and Henry Maddox, sophomore Connor Parson, and senior Austin Levesque. Freshman CJ Colomb was instrumental in building the robotics practice arena in ATEC, and junior Izzy Petersen took hundreds of photographs to document the tournament.
After the opening round-robin competition, in which robots face off in two-on-two competition as part of alliances with other robots, Robot 8030B placed 5th overall and robot 8030A placed 9th overall out of 31 robots. Both teams made it into the quarterfinals.
In robot 8030B’s quarterfinal match, there was debate between the head referee and judges over the outcome. The opposing team violated rules against hoarding game pieces and trapping robots, but the head referee failed to call those violations. After the referee and judges conferred for 20-25 minutes, they opted to give the opposing team a warning and replayed the match. This replay ended with robot 8030B being eliminated.
Meanwhile, Robot 8030A beat the second seed team in their quarterfinal match and moved on to the semi-finals. In the semi-final, they were matched against the team that eliminated robot 8030B. Again, this team violated the rules regarding trapping and hoarding and because of this, they were disqualified. Robot 8030A moved on to the finals.
Although robot 8030A lost in the finals, a second place finish qualifies the team for the state championship, so robot 8030A will represent LA in the schools first ever Maine State VEX Robotics Championship Tournament on Saturday, March 5th.
Owen Dyer anticipates tough competition at States, and while the team will make small repairs to their robot, they will not do any major overhauling of the technology. “We spent the whole year getting to this point,” said Dyer. “We only have a few weeks until States so we won’t be able to change that much.”
“I’m so proud of this team and what they have accomplished,” said LA math teacher Susan Levesque, who coaches the team. “Our teams both performed well and we are very excited to take a robot to States. I wish it could have been both of them.”