The WALKERS team was part of a winning alliance that defeated 33 others at a February qualifier to secure a spot in the finals. The team name is an abbreviation for Wireless Alternative Lifeforms Keen on Exploration in Robotics Systems."
Their season ended Sunday at the New Jersey Institute of Technology in Newark after glitches with the team's robot put it at the bottom of the rankings. Co-captain Marina Lilieholm said everyone kept working, despite the unpredicted faults.
"There wasn't a difference in the team's spirit. We didn't start turning against each other," the Greenwich Township junior said. "...I'm personally excited for next year, because, honestly, we know we can do this. Bring it on."
They were happy to advance to that stage of the FIRST Tech Challenge competition, she said, and they started cheering for other teams when their own success waned. FIRST stands for For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology.
Their robot efficiently reached 30-centimeter and 60-centimeter goals, but the team began tinkering with it to reach the 90-centimeter goal. It added too much weight, she said.
The team also had technical problems with the robot on the day of the competition. Sometimes it switched programs without the operators' permission, and the batteries would drain immediately even though they were fully charged.
"What we had fixed and down pat became haywire during the competition," Lilieholm said."
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