(Originally posted on ndsj.org)
Recently Notre Dame’s Robotics Team, the Janksters, traveled to Madera, full of excitement and nervousness for the first competition of the 2016 season. The girls were waiting in anticipation to see their robot, Cierra, compete on the field for the first time.
Early Friday morning, the girls waited anxiously outside the doors of the pits, ready to get to work on Cierra. As soon as the pits opened, several of the girls rushed in to improve the robot while the others set out on a quest to network with and scout the other FRC teams present at the Central Valley Regional. By 4:30, many of the girls had finished with their tasks and were watching practice matches. At 8:00 pm sharp, the pits closed, and the Janksters left happy and content to say that Cierra was fully functional and ready for competition the next day.
On Saturday, the matches officially began. Cierra, passed inspection quickly before the first match that the Janksters would compete in that day. Since the girls had been working on Cierra all day Friday, the team was unsure if the robot would be able to drive at all. All worries flew out the window when the girls began to cheer loudly as they saw Cierra glide around the playing field. Throughout the seven matches the Janksters played on Saturday, Cierra performed well, despite connection issues. The day concluded on a high note with the first award ceremony of the competition. As soon as he said “the girls in black ties”, the team jumped down to the field and high fived all the judges who smiled proudly and congratulated the team for its efforts towards the team’s imagery. The girls left the venue that first day of competition happy and content that the team’s aesthetic and 5 years of establishing a cohesive look had been validated.
Sunday was a shorter day for the girls since the Janksters had only three more matches left to play before alliance selections. Sadly, Cierra still had connection issues, and was therefore unable to perform its full potential. Instead of being upset that the team was not advancing on to eliminations, the girls worked hard and were able to find the source of the connection issues. The time for the second award ceremony of the Central Valley Regional had arrived, and the girls were anxious to hear the winner of the Safety Award. The announcer called out “Team 1967, the Janksters,” and the team rushed down to the field once again in a frenzy of happiness. As the cherry on top of the competition, Yashna Bansal, the team administrator, was recognized as a Dean’s List Finalist for her extensive efforts to push Team 1967 onto a path of long term success. The competition experience was unlike any other and was a weekend full of laughter, screaming, excitement, and wonderful memories that any Jankster would be unlikely to forget anytime soon.