Destrehan High School’s Wildcats Robotics team recently wrapped up its season with an impressive showing at the Bayou Regional competition, and head coach Brian Young said he was proud of the young team members for showing resilience and overcoming adversity several times this season.
“I’m very, very impressed with the team,” Young said. “Despite Ida and very little experience on the team, along with no training time, we were very successful.”
For the past couple of robotics seasons, competitions were held virtually because of the pandemic, which was difficult on the team. The competition structure gives each team six weeks to analyze a given game and design a robot that can win that game.
“We lost at least half the team,” Young said. “Some graduated and it lost some appeal when you don’t compete in person. But I’m happy to say we are 23 people strong, and this is our most diverse team in many years.”
Besides Young, the other three team mentors are all Wildcat Robotics alumni who are still in college and actively working in industry.
“One of our biggest prides is being a student-led team,” Young said. “Our students fully produce the robot every year, which includes the designing, fabrication and programming of one. On top of this, it brings me great joy to see my students working in the pits and troubleshooting, diagnosing and fixing problems as they arise.”
Young said this year’s team was the most inexperienced the school has had in over a decade, and that Hurricane Ida altered the team’s meeting and training schedule since DHS was closed until January. In the end, however, they were successful.
This season the team first competed in Florida at the Tallahassee Regional, where they ranked 7th and were the 4th overall pick of the alliance selection draft. Although they lost in semifinals, the Wildcats won the Rockwell Automation Creativity Award at the competition and had an Offensive Power Ranking of 23.4.
For the recent Bayou Regional, Young said the team made improvements to their robot after the Tallahassee competition two weeks prior, and that their OPR was increased to 43 by modifying their robot based on collected data.
At the Bayou Regional, the Wildcats gave the Robonauts, a top NASA-sponsored team out of Johnson Space Center, their only loss of the entire tournament and posted two of the three highest scores of the qualification matches. The Wildcats had the second highest point total in autonomous, which is a 15 second period to start each match when the robot executes pre-programmed instructions without any interaction of the persons driving the robot.
They ended as the third overall pick of the alliance selection draft but lost in the semifinals when one of their four drive modules failed.
“Ever since Hurricane Ida, my students have faced incredible adversity and persevered through it,” Young said.
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