Ferradermis competes at FIRST World Championships

Article and Photos by Laura Masbruch

In March, after finishing the qualification rounds ranked 3rd out of 54 teams, the Whitewater High School Robotics Team Ferradermis captained the second seeded alliance in the elimination rounds at the FIRST Wisconsin Regional, selecting the teams Paradigm Shift from Pewaukee High School and Oriole Assault from Hartford Union High School to compete with them on their alliance. The alliance was victorious, eventually defeating the alliance led by the team Wingus and Dingus from New Zealand in the finals to claim the Regional Title and qualify for Worlds.

The FIRST World Championships in Detroit hosted 408 high school robotics teams from around the world divided into 6 divisions of 68 teams each from April 24 through the 27th. Each division hosted its own qualification and elimination rounds with the winning alliance moving onto the Einstein field to compete against the other division winners. Twenty-seven members of the team traveled to Detroit where Drivers Danny Soto and Colin Chenoweth, Human Players Jenna Lee and Wesley Salverson, and Technician Zach Brantmeier took the robot Chief Lee onto the field for competition.

Ferradermis competed in the Tesla Division with teams from 15 states, Canada, Chile, Chinese Taipei, Israel, Japan, and Singapore. Ferradermis was randomly placed in the Tesla Division along with their winning alliance partner Paradigm Shift from the Wisconsin Regional, and the two teams ended up having to play against each other in the qualification rounds in Detroit; fittingly, that match ended in a tie. The most unique alliance of three which Ferradermis was a part of was when they simultaneously joined forces with the teams from Chile and Israel.

Ferradermis ended the qualification rounds ranked 52 out of 68, and did not make the playoffs. They battled valiantly in each and every qualification match with their last match producing their best overall performance by any of their 10 randomly assigned alliances. Ferradermis was only one of six teams in the Tesla Division to have a perfect score across all 10 qualification matches for the sandstorm period of the game where the robot could either operate autonomously or the drivers could navigate by the use of cameras. Their total cargo points from all 10 matches with their alliances ranked 32nd overall and their total habitat climbing points from all 10 matches with their alliances ranked 33rd overall. Although Ferradermis scored a lot of points, and the matches were typically very close in their final scores, ultimately it was the overall win-loss record of 1-8-1 that left Ferradermis in 52nd.

In addition to competing and talking with students from around the world, Ferradermis members had the opportunity to visit the Innovation Faire where many global companies demonstrated their latest and greatest technologies. They also attended workshops on a wide array of topics related to robotics, outreach, and running a team and had the opportunity to check out scholarship row where many major universities presented information on the $80 million in scholarships available to FIRST participants. The team also had the pleasure of cheering on Team #930 from Mukwonago High School as they came within a single point of winning the World Championship in the finals at Ford Field on Saturday night.

Ferradermis wishes to thank their many sponsors that have made their first three years as a team possible. A special thank you goes out to our current Golden-Iron Sponsors NASA, Pentair, Whitewater High School, Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction, Generac Power Systems, Lavelle Industries, University of Wisconsin – Whitewater College of Business and Economics, Anonymous Community Members, and Milwaukee Tool as well as our current Silver-Iron Sponsors HSI Rentals, Michael Borglin & Tim Walsh, The Coburn Company, Whitewater Manufacturing, First Citizens State Bank, and Hudapack Metal Treating and our numerous other sponsors.

The team is already looking forward to 2020 and the game “Infinite Recharge.” Team members can only speculate until January when they find out what that really means, but they do know that next year’s game is being sponsored by Lucasfilm and parent company Disney as part of the Star Wars: Force for Change initiative. Ferradermis is currently accepting new members for summer activities including our second annual Boot Camp from August 3-10 at Whitewater High School. Interested incoming freshmen and current students considering joining the team should contact Laura Masbruch at lmasbruch@wwusd.org.

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