By Miranda Holloway
The WildStang robotic team has had an eventful year, winning two regional competitions with their robot and that excitement peaked on during this past weekend. The team won the FIRST — For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology– Robotic Championships World Championships.
The team— made up of 68 students from Prospect, Wheeling and Rolling Meadows— worked hard for gold at the competition, which took place April 28-30 at the Edward Jones Arena in St. Louis. The teams beat 352 teams from around the country and the world country and the world from countries including Australia, Israel, Mexico and Canada.
To get to the championship, the team had to win the Wisconsin Regional competition in mid-March and the Midwest Regional two weeks later. After their two wins, the team was feeling good about the world competition.
“We thought we had a really, really good chance of being successful, and it turns out we did,” sophomore team member Alec Mataloni said.
The object of the competition was have the robot pick up a series of inflatable tubes and place them on pegs of different heights. The competition began with a few qualification matches. After those matches, the team was seeded ninth.
Then the teams began to form alliances. The top eight seeds choose who to align themselves with. The team in the first seed chooses first, the second chooses second and so on until the picking comes back to the first seeded team, who gets to choose again.
Because WildStang was seeded ninth, they did not have the opportunity to choose their alliances. They were chosen by a team from northern California and then moved on to the elimination rounds.
“There were some tough patches during the qualification matches but we plowed through most of our elimination rounds,” Mataloni said.
The team has been working on their robot since January, and Mataloni said the win “felt incredible.”
But winning wasn’t everything. The experience of working on the robot with the team and having the opportunity to compete on such a high level has been rewarding.
“I honestly don’t know were I would be without the team and the program,” Mataloni said.
While the tired team’s season is over until next January of 2012, they are still looking forward to similar results next year.
“We are going to keep coming back for more,” Mataloni said.
To see a table run of the robot, visit their Youtube site