2021 Bomb Squad Season Kick-off


Olivia Martin, Staff

On the 9th of January, FIRST Robotics Competition (FRC) team 16, Bomb Squad, had their game reveal. As usual, the team members and mentors meet in Dunbar to watch a virtual kick-off for the 2021 season Game Changers. These students range from freshman to seniors. This year’s game is a rerun of the 2020 season Infinite Recharge, where teams competed to charge their power generator with power cells. 

This year, with CDC guidelines, teams have been unable to have in-person events. FIRST headquarters has designed five skills challenges for the teams to video. There are two autonomously running (pre-programmed) and teleoperated (human-controlled). 

Another challenge that has been introduced into the game this season is the Innovation Challenge. This year’s Innovation challenge consists of finding a problem in the community related to people’s mental or physical health and work to solve it or make changes to better an already existing solution. 

Trent Guthrie, The Mechanical Lead on the team, describes how the Innovation challenge alone has changed the team’s season this year. “Usually the innovation challenge is only in FFL (FIRST Lego League), but this year they are including it in FRC. This allows students who are more interested in the business and community side of engineering to get involved.”

Kaylee Drake, the Hall of Fame Captain on the team, also explains some differences between the 2020 season and the 2021 season.“This year, FIRST offered teams to compete in at-home challenges from the safety and distance of their own remote locations. One of the challenges is the Skills Challenge in which teams can use their robot from last season or build a new one to go through a series of pathways in autonomous, shooting, and even driving circuits. The skills challenge largely focuses on speed and accuracy, both large components that were largely attributed to the original game last season, Infinite Recharge.”

As the team begins to adjust to working as a team for the at-home year, they begin practicing the teleoperated challenges to get the fastest times possible. They’re also choosing captain positions for the robot, innovation challenge, and media aspects of the team. The students who have been chosen for these positions include Will Beckham as the Robot Captain, Trent Guthrie as the Mechanical Lead, and Dhairya Dodia as the Programming Lead. As well as Kaylee Drake as the Hall of Fame Captain, Audrey Young as the Media Lead, Olivia Martin as the Submissions Lead, and Mary Beth Rogero as the Innovation Captain.