This article was written by Chloe Melville
This past Saturday the Melrose High School robotics team, the iRaiders, competed in a post season competition called “Mayhem in Merrimack” in Merrimack, New Hampshire. This year’s game, Recycle Rush, challenged teams to build a robot that could lift and stack plastic recycling containers and bins to score them on different scoring platforms. During the qualification matches, teams are randomly paired with two other teams against another alliance of three teams. Each alliance tried to get a high score to boost their individual team’s average score, which determined their place in the rankings.
The iRaiders did very well in their qualification matches, finishing in tenth place out of eighteen teams by the end of the qualification matches. This ranking was especially good because the iRaiders rotated their driving team around. The drive team consisted of one driver, two coaches to help the driver, and one human player to feed recycling bins to the robot and throw pool noodles (another scoring aspect of the game), onto the field. Team members Andy Benagh, Ryan Bradford, Kyle Brooks, Sam Foley, Greg Leo, Chloe Melville, Jack O’Brien, Jacob Russett, Nate Shu, and Ezra Stobbe subbed in and out for the drive team, many trying out their position for the first time.
After the qualifications came to a close, it was time for alliance selections. The top seeds, six in this case, picked their alliance members for the elimination rounds. The iRaiders, in tenth place, waited to see who would chose them. Holding their breath, the team watched as the first selection went around. The top six now had two alliance members, and were in need of a third. As the second pick went around, the second placed alliance chose the iRaiders! The team was ecstatic; they even had a bypass into the semifinals. The alliance team consisted of team 319, Big Bad Bob, and team 1058, the PVC Pirates.
After a break for lunch and using some extra time to collaborate, the semi finals began. All three teams held a strong alliance, using a clean cut strategy and scored high in each match leading up to the final. The final was best two out of three. The iRaiders alliance scored in the 100’s during the first match, earning them a win. Then the next, and hopefully final, match. Both teams stacked containers and bins to towering heights, but in the end the iRaiders alliance pushed to the top and got a score of 189, an extremely high score in this competition. This climactic score brought the team a strong victory, a great way to close out one of the best seasons for the iRaiders.