By David Fleet
Truck Town Thunder #68 robotics team traveled to Mason High School to compete in the FIRST Lansing District Competition on March 25-26. Truck Town Thunder comprised of students from Brandon and Holly high school finished 15th of 40 teams in the weekend event.
The team completed the qualification rounds with a record of 7 wins and 5 loses, however, were eliminated in the quarterfinals on Saturday afternoon.
“T3 ended the event with some outstanding awards that sets the program apart,” said Andrew Spiece, T3 team leader.
The game this year is called “Stronghold” The teams compete on a 27-by-54-foot field with a series of five outer works obstacles that divide the neutral zone from the alliance sections. Four of the five used obstacles are modular and can be moved, and certain obstacles may or may not be present during a match Additional bonus points can be earned for each robot that is suspended in air at the end of the match. The two alliances of three teams each compete to score points by breaching the opponent’s outer works and capturing the opponent’s tower.
Truck Town Thunder went on to win the Chairman’s Award which automatically qualifies them for the Michigan State Championships later this month.
“The chairman’s award it the most prestigious award at FIRST,” said Spiece. “It honors the team that best represents a model for other teams to emulate and best embodies the purpose and goals of FIRST. The Chairman’s Award is presented to the team judged to have the most significant measurable impact of its partnerships among its participants and community over a sustained period, not just a single build season. The winner is able to demonstrate progress towards FIRST’s mission to transform our culture.”
Also recognized was student and Truck Town Thunder member Levi Bischer who received the FIRST Dean’s list award celebrating outstanding student leaders whose passion for and effectiveness at attaining FIRST ideals is exemplary.
“Robotics is where anyone can fit in and still enjoy the competitiveness of any sport,” he said.
Bischer will now go on to compete for this honor at the Michigan State Championships in April.
Brandon High School Sophomore Olivia Wright expressed how robotics impacted her life.
“Robotics is truly a different type of program,” she said. “I’ve never been involved in something that I feel so appreciated for all of my work and it’s amazing to see a program that is connected like a family. I was honestly afraid to join the robotics team because I thought you had to be smart or good with electrical, but it is much more than that. Truck Town Thunder offered members leadership roles that they wouldn’t have gotten from any other team. Teams across the country have looked up to Truck Town Thunder as an example team for many years.”
Sophomore Marissa Stewart said Town Thunder has always been more than just a robotics team.
“Joining Truck Town was the best decision of my life,” she said. “This program has been the most inspirational time in my life. The people’s lives that robotics impacts is amazing, from their youth programs to reaching out to the communities all over the world.”