Coach’s Corner

IMG_3038Wow!  What a fantastic year.  We began the year with a whole new group of students, some of whom are seniors, who had to learn the ins and outs of robotics.  At the end of the year, they had transformed themselves into a cohesive team who built the most technically challenging robot of our team history.  Then they took that robot and completely remade it!  A remarkable achievement.  Congratulations to all of the students on their many achievements this season!

The team was blessed to receive the most generous donation this past fall of over $75,000 worth of new equipment.  Thanks to our generous benefactor, the team now has a CNC Router, a new mill, lathe, band saw, drill press, metal bending machine, grinder, sander, table saw and more.  Kevin Laperriere was instrumental in specifying specifications and then setting up the equipment for the team.  We owe him many thanks for helping us to setup this foundation for the future of the team.  The students are extremely grateful to have access to this equipment.

We began our CAD class this past fall.  Several of our team members had a huge jump on the season due to practice.  Mike Crance, Kevin LaPerriere and Chris Eggleston were able to further refine their skills with input from the real world of practical engineering.  Alejandro Araujo, Will Bice and Nate Schmidt all participated in the class and were the main CAD designers.  Joey Bickett also took the class.  Adrianna Araujo was taught by her brother and should be a strong contributor in design next season.

The Dallas Regional was a great learning experience.  The students had the opportunity to learn the game.  Also, they discovered ways to improve the overall design of the robot.  Working under the guidance of the mentors, they took on a very ambitious project to redesign two parts of the robot.  The feeding mechanism was redesigned as was the drive train.  All of this was done in just a few weeks.  The students had to take apart the robot at competition and re-assemble it in a short period of time in order to pass inspection and compete.  They passed it with flying colors.

On April 4, the team traveled to St. Mary’s in San Antonio for the Alamo Regional.  The team ended the qualifying rounds ranked 10th out of 53 teams.  We ended up as the 6th seed alliance captain and were eliminated by the 3rd seeded alliance in the quarter finals.  It was such a joy for me as Coach to see the students have such a wonderful time, learn many new things and become so close as a collective group.

Thank you to Suzie Fitzgibbon for coordinating meals with assistance from Julia Ermish and Liz Dominguez, who also donated one of our meals in San Antonio. Thanks also to the Luong and Benkowski family for each sponsoring a lunch.

Alejandro Araujo, Nate Schmidt, Will Bice and Dan Luong were the drive team with Carson Fitzgibbon as the lead programmer.  Dan and Raphael Le served as public relations in the pit.  Christina Cross, Ryan Bice and Adrianna Araujo were the Pit Crew.  Jordan Schwartz led a team of twelve scouts; Gabriel Le, Harrison Galina, Peter Granados, Jacob Hernandez, Joseph Stranczek, Jacob Hernandez, Oscar Morales, Maggie Blair, Alexander Christensen, Julian Ermish and Maggie Blair.

Thanks to Benny Araujo and Mike Crance for working so hard with Victoria Benkowski, John Conlin and Brennan Chan in order to prepare for the Chairman’s Award Presentation.  These students improved so much during the course of the season.

Will Bice was nominated for the Dean’s Award.  He did a fantastic job preparing for his interview. Congratulations to him!

Thanks again to Assistant Coach Benny Araujo, mentors Mike Crance, Kevin LaPerriere, Chris Eggleston, Mark Stranczek, Antonio Araujo, Ron Clapp, Mike Ross and Bob Benkowski for the generous amount of time given to help guide the students!  Thank you to all of the parents who so generously contributed their time to help with supervision and provide meals for the team. Thanks to Suzie Fitzgibbon and Carol Ross for taking charge of the Spirit gear.  Finally, thanks to Dr. Scheer for his inspiration and guidance.  He managed the finances and purchasing this season with the help of student Christian Todd. You all are amazing!

The mentors will meet one evening this month to access the season and begin making plans for next year.  The team will meet to hold a debriefing.  This early action will help the team improve for next season.

The team will lose quite a few seniors who were major contributors to the team.  We are proud to see them graduate as confident young leaders.  It seems that every year we wonder how the shoes of the graduating seniors will be filled.  And every year we are blessed with new student talent to step in and carry the torch.  We look forward to next season when a new group of young student engineers will have the opportunity to grow and develop their potential.