Yesterday, about 70 Huskie Robotics members gathered at Naperville North for Kickoff: the revealing of this year’s game and an opportunity to strategize as a large group. This year’s challenge is “Aerial Assist”: Teams must shoot 2-foot-diameter exercise balls into high and low goals. The “assist” portion comes from passing the ball to different members of your alliance: every time a unique alliance robot has possession of the ball in a unique “zone”, or portion of the field, assist points are earned. For more information, you can visit this link on the FIRST website.

Reactions to the challenge varied. There was a general consensus that the task seems difficult: Senior Alan Han, a member of the electrical team, said “There’s a lot more elements involved… it’s somewhat difficult compared to the other years.” Kim Dauber, the team captain, thought “like pretty much every FIRST challenge, it’s going to be a pretty difficult one, but we’re going to be able to handle it.” Cari, last year’s captain who came back for kickoff as well as several other college freshmen, was jealous that  she couldn’t participate in this year’s competition because it was so different from those of previous years. Though some people were worried about the game, Mr. Rowzee really liked the fact that because the task was relatively simple (no climbing or balancing this time!), it would encourage cooperation and enable rookie teams to contribute more easily.

After viewing the video and reading the game rules, the team started brainstorming strategies in small groups, then reading and building off of other groups’ ideas and finally coming together in room 184 for a team-wide discussion. Together, we prioritized about 20 different types of strategies and goals for game play, as well as a goal for the season: Be #1, memorably. I think I speak for everyone on the team when I say I’m excited for the six weeks ahead and looking forward to seeing what feats of engineering we can accomplish. Let’s go, team 3061!

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-Anushka R.