Silicon Valley Regional (SVR)

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Written by Lara Fernandes ‘18

Originally published on NDSJ

The Janksters recently competed at the FIRST Silicon Valley Regional robotics competition at San Jose State University. This was their second competition of the 2016 season.

On Thursday morning, the San Jose State Event Center was officially opened for all the robotics teams to kick off the three fun and exciting days of competition. The girls rushed into the Event Center, ready to start their day. Thursday was a day for the girls to finalize changes to the robot before the actual matches. While some of the girls were working on our robot, the other girls were networking with the other robotics teams at the competition, asking them about their robot and teams. There were also some housekeeping things that needed to be taken care of before the official days of competition started. The team passed out helpful downtown guides and our giveaways to the other teams. Meanwhile, in our pit, the girls were finishing up the robot, and getting it inspected so that the team could compete in the matches the following day.

Early Friday morning, the girls crowded around the doors, bracing the cold and rain to get the best seats. Matches officially started that day and the team wanted to be right in the center, cheering on their robot, Cierra. There were some communication issues with the robot the girls faced but they reached out to other FRC teams for help and were able to work through the problems. Cierra performed well in the first day of matches and the team worked hard in the pits and the stands whether it was working on the robot, networking with other teams, scouting during matches or just showing ND spirit.

The Janksters held a team social at Notre Dame later on Friday as an opportunity to interact with other teams. Team 1868 (Space Cookies), Team 5089 (Robo-Nerds), Team 5940 (B.R.E.A.D.), Team 6036 (Terrace Tech) and Team 5655 from Turkey (Kelrot) were invited to spend some time with the Janksters and have fun with each other. There was plenty of food, laughter, dancing and even pool noodles to create a wonderful end to the first day of competition. “Talking to other teams was pretty fun, getting to know them and what they did, at the Team Social” said Paulina Robles ‘17.

The Janksters came back on Saturday with renewed energy and were prepared to face another day of competition. The team worked hard to problem-solve the issues with communication they had faced on day one and all of their effort payed off. In the team’s second to last match, Cierra exceeded expectations when it passed through a defense during autonomous, picked up a ball, and the scaling mechanism worked. There was a chorus of cheers and a flurry of red pom-poms, excitement flooding the stands when our robot scaled the tower. “There was one match that we did really well in and the scaling mechanism completely worked, we were completely over the line and we got the points for it. I was really happy because that was the first time it was successful and it showed that Scaling’s work had really paid off.” said Miyo Imai ‘18. The team did not advance to eliminations, but knowing that we had done our best and our robot had performed well on the field was a victory in itself.

As the awards ceremony of the Silicon Valley Regional began, our team waited for the winner of the Spirit Award to be called. When the announcer called out “Team 1967, the Janksters” there was first a moment of surprised silence and then an eruption of cheering. The girls ran onto the field, received the award and high-fived all of the judges. We had been recognized for our spirit from overflowing enthusiasm to our bright red bows.

This season was a large step forward for the Janksters with receiving with the Imagery and Safety Awards at Madera, the Spirit Award, and having Yashna Bansal ‘17 recognized as a Dean’s List finalist by FIRST Robotics. The team is continuing to grow and improve as the years go by. “I remember in my freshman year, the design we had for the robot was relatively simple, but each year I’ve seen the design grow more and more complicated until finally other teams are coming to us to learn what we did. We stand out more, not just in terms of our robot design but in terms of our branding.” said Tamara Kawa ‘16.

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