On Saturday, January 8, members of the Whitewater High School FIRST Robotics Team Ferradermis gathered in the library at WHS for the worldwide reveal of the new game for the 2022 Season, Rapid React. The scoring opportunities in this year’s game are modeled after an airport, as the game is sponsored by Boeing, and revolves around a theme of transporting cargo. Robots must shoot oversized tennis balls (cargo) into the “hub” during both the autonomous portion of the game and during the driver-operated portion of the game. Robots may retrieve additional cargo from the “terminal,” and during the end-game, climb across a series of rungs in the “hangar.”
The team will now have approximately six more weeks to finish planning, designing, building, wiring, coding, and testing their robot before leaving for their first regional competition. To make this happen, they will meet at WHS four nights each week and all day on Saturday. The team currently has 28 members, over half of them new to robotics, and is led by a trio of seniors, each with four years of experience on the team, Elijah Grall, Shane Kinson, and Andrew Rollette.
For the first time this season, Ferradermis will be participating in three regional events, instead of their typical two. This will give our seniors a chance to experience more events since so many were cancelled in their sophomore and junior years due to the pandemic. After a practice event at Sussex Hamilton High School on February 20, the team will compete in Duluth, Minnesota, at the Lake Superior Regional from March 2 – 5. Then, over Spring Break, they will compete at the Wisconsin Regional in Milwaukee, defending their 2018 and 2019 titles. (The Wisconsin Regional was not held in 2020 or 2021 due to COVID.) Finally, the team will compete at the Seven Rivers Regional in La Crosse from March 30 – April 2. A win at any of these events as an alliance captain or an alliance’s first pick during selections will secure an invitation to the World Championships which will be held in Houston this year in late April. This is a tighter set of qualification requirements than a typical year in order to reduce the number of teams at the championship event.
The team is supported by a large group of adult mentors including professional engineers, professional programmers, metal workers, teachers, entrepreneurs, school staff members, and college students who participated in FIRST Robotics as high school students. Among the current full-time mentors for the team are Ferradermis alumni Zach Brantmeier and Sam Meyer. The students of Ferradermis are forever grateful to the Whitewater community for their support of their endeavor.
The team will hold its annual open house on Saturday, February 12, from 9 am until noon. Community members, family members, and sponsors are welcome to come check out the workspace and learn more about the team and this year’s robot.
To learn about the rules of this year’s game, watch the Game Animation below:
Article and Photos Submitted by Laura Masbruch
Whitewater High School Robotics Advisor and Banner Volunteer