Source: Sherman Publications

RoboCats finish 3rd in state

by Andrew Moser

April 13, 2011

It’s off to St. Louis, Missouri for the Oxford High School Robocats.

The Robocats finished third at the Michigan FIRST Robotics State Championship held at Eastern Michigan University on Thursday, April 7 to Saturday, April 9, which qualified them for the World Championships in St. Louis on April 28-30.

“It was a great tournament,” Robocat team leader Dante Zuccaro said. “There was some fierce competition out there from teams across the state and the team did awesome.”

The top 64 teams in Michigan competed at states. Oxford entered the tournament seeded second based on their performances at previous regional competitions.

After finishing with a 10-2 mark in the qualifying rounds, the Robocats would reach the semifinals before losing 109-99 to the eventual state champions.

Oxford would team up with Bishop Foley Catholic High School and Hopkins High School/AAESA Tech Center.

“They did very well and I am proud of their performance. They all worked as a team, and every person on the team played their position well, whether it was the scouting team, the pit crew, programming team, drivers or the folks working the logistics all did an outstanding job at their position and that is what allowed us to do well at the tournament,” he added.

This is the second year in a row the Robocats, who have only been a club for five years, have gone to the World Championships.

“The program has quickly come up to speed and been able to be competitive with not a whole lot of experience,” Zuccaro said.

He contributes the rapid rise in success to the way the Robocats build their robots.

“We follow the same type of process we use in the industry,” he said. “We set milestones throughout the six week build time frame. By having this design process of setting milestones and giving the students the tools to make good decisions, we allow them make good decisions, on time and allow us to complete our robot with a good, quality design.”

This process gives the Robocats a chance to test and work out the flaws in the robot.

To reach the states, the Robocats participated in their second regional event of the season at the 2011 FIRST Livonia District, held at Churchill High School in Livonia, MI on Friday, April 1 and Saturday, April 2.

The Robocats, along with alliance partners team 1023 - Bedford Express from Bedford, MI and team 3617 - Cold Logic from Marquette, MI, were able to defeat 37 other competitors to bring home their second trophy of the season.

However, their victory was almost in doubt when team 1023’s robot stripped some gears and had to be replaced. Amazingly, Bedford was able to partially repair their robot under the six minute time-out and continue on in the competition.

The Robocats and their alliance would win round one of the finals 105-70 and round two 95-49.

In addition to winning the regional title, the Robocats also won the prestigious Engineering Inspiration Award, which goes to the team that has outstanding success in advancing respect and appreciation for engineering and engineers, both in school and within their community.

Zuccaro would like to thank the team sponsors for the Robocats this season. He added the team was looking for additional sponsors to help them get to the World Championships.