By Joyce Yang '23 and Anchal Bharwaj '24
After over a year of “quarantine” robotics, Team 1967 - The Janksters returned to the field at CalGames, a FIRST Robotics Competition offseason event hosted by the Western Region Robotics Forum! Sixteen Notre Dame students represented our team of more than 70 members at Lynbrook High School. Our motto for all 22 hours of competition - “Work hard, play hard.” Our team’s months of effort to create a 120 pound robot, equipped with 9 motors, 4 encoders, 2 cameras, and a gyroscope certainly paid off at competition. The Jankster’s brought home the CalGames Innovation Award, recognizing our robot’s unorthodox and intricate vision system. Every member of our team played a part in making our first competition of the year a success - from drive team in the matches, to our pit crew who worked tirelessly to maintain our robot, to the students at school scouting every round of qualifications.
At CalGames, our team competed in 11 qualification matches and two elimination matches with our final 3-robot alliance with Junipero Serra’s Gear Gremlins and Palo Alto based Peninsula Robotics. Despite the limited number of students allowed at the in-person competition, our scouting leads created shifts to also engage members back at ND’s campus. By utilizing the CalGames match live stream, our rookies put their scouting - gathering data on other robots - practice to the test. After making it through round after round of tough qualification matches, our 5-person drive team worked vigorously with alliance partners to develop and execute match strategy while also training newer students about the competition experience.
The in-person competition experience was beyond valuable, especially for our rookie Janksters. Sam Lauser, a sophomore on the drive team, says, “It was an amazing learning experience. Just being a fly on the wall, witnessing the rest of the drive teams’ discussions taught me so much about how competitions and how our team works”. Even through fun robotics traditions like button trading, Team 1967’s members developed newfound friendships and connections with other teams. At Lynbrook High School, our team of 16 bonded with the 3 other all-girl’s robotics teams present: Presentation Invasion, Space Cookies, and Gatorbotics. These competition memories will continue to foster the Janksters’ relationships with other FRC robotics teams as we continue to compete!
The mission of FIRST® is to inspire young people to be science and technology leaders and innovators. As members of Notre Dame’s robotics team, we take every opportunity to not only advance ourselves as lifelong learners but also appreciate the beauty of building and collaboration. At 2021 CalGames, we learned to love both the excitement of competition and the virtue of communication and cooperation. Team 1967 looks forward to growing as a team and, as they say, “Onward!”