By Miranda Godinez ’18
Last weekend, The Janksters had the opportunity to participate in CalGames on October 7 and 8. Thirty-eight teams gathered at Fremont High School in Sunnyvale to compete at CalGames.
At the competition, the team successfully accomplished all of its goals: rank in the top 15, introduce first-time veteran members to leadership positions, acclimate the team’s rookies to the competition environment, and, of course, have fun! Team members led groups of rookies in activities to help them become more accustomed to the environment of a competition. This included visiting other teams to see how they designed their robot to meet the season’s challenge, analyzing the performance of other teams’ robots during matches, and participating in a scavenger hunt. “I was mainly nervous about talking to other teams and people I didn’t know…but as soon as I got more comfortable with asking strangers questions about their robots it was really fun.” Libby Barrese ‘20 said.
Rookies weren’t the only ones adjusting to a whole new world of competition. Veterans had the opportunity to step up by being more involved in pit crew helping repair the robot and troubleshoot and by taking up new positions such as safety captain and drive team. Anisha Kabir ‘19 was one of the many veterans who found herself having a bigger part to play at competition: “I took on the role of managing match and pit scouting and, at first, it seemed daunting. I felt the pressure of responsibility, something I didn’t really need to worry about as a rookie. But after experiencing a few matches and adapting to my role, I felt glad that I could contribute something valuable to the team.” The Janksters used this competition to experience personal growth and team bonding, making this competition one to remember.
In fact, something quite memorable did happen at this competition. We were selected to join the 4th-seeded alliance with the Girl Scouts-sponsored team Space Cookies and Serra High School’s Gear Gremlins. After a series of tough matches, lots of cheering, and unexpected wins, The Janksters and their alliance pulled through and made their way to the top, winning the entire competition. “After we won, I just felt so fulfilled, knowing that we all worked to put together that robot and all those hours finally really paid off. I was so surprised of how well we had done and I think our achievement brought us closer together as a team.” Nikita Jagdish ‘18 said. Along with winning CalGames 2016, The Janksters were also recognized for their consistent scaling mechanism with the Systems Design Award, and their coach Marta Carrillo was presented with the Mentor of the Year Award for her constant support and significant contribution to the team.
The Janksters weren’t the only ones who got in on the action. Ms. Yi, a science teacher at Notre Dame, had this to say about her experience at the competition: “I was impressed by how many different teams there were, and watching you guys cheer on your team was fun. I brought my 4-year-old and he enjoyed watching the robots do their thing.” We all had such a memorable experience at CalGames, and we would like to thank everyone in the Notre Dame community who came to support us and to join in on the fun. Because of CalGames, we concluded the 2016 season on a high note, and the effects of this year can be best summarized by the words of Yashna Bansal ‘17: “You all deserve to be proud of our team and what we’ve accomplished during the entire 2016 Season. Everything we’ve been recognized for is a result of hundreds and hundreds of hours put in by each and every one of you. I can’t even put into words how proud I am of all of you.” We look forward to the upcoming season and hopefully many more years that will be as memorable as this one.