Red Storm Robotics entered the pre-season of its third year somewhat roughly, after many of the last year’s key student members graduated and others had not returned for different reasons. That fall, we worked hard to gather almost an entirely new team of talented students, and arranged for mentors and the more skilled students to instruct the newer members. By the start of the real season in January, it was hard to tell that most of the students at the meetings had never been on the team before.

After an underwhelming ’11-’12 season, Red Storm made a decision to work harder than ever to produce the best robot it could for 2013. Right from the kickoff, the team began meeting for three hours a day, five days a week. The rigorous meeting schedule gave us plenty of time to create a high-quality robot, but left many students and adults feeling overwhelmed. The crucial efforts of the Marketing and Spirit Team, however, helped counteract this, and kept Red Storm working hard through what otherwise would have been six grueling weeks of robot building.

At the team’s first competition at Gull Lake High School, a well-made robot, thanks to the hard work of the electrical and mechanical teams, and a top-notch drive team carried Red Storm to the elimination rounds, where it put up an excellent effort, but was unfortunately defeated. Two weeks later, at the Grand Valley West Michigan Districts, the team also put up a good fight in the qualifying rounds, but was not selected for the qualifying rounds. Although the team did not win at its competitions, most of the students felt satisfied with the team’s performance and their own, and many students reported the influence it had on their career plans and academic success.

The game for 2012, “Ultimate Ascent”, involved building and programming a robot capable of shooting or placing plastic disks into five different goals at four heights. Matches are conducted with two three-team alliances. The first 15-second period of the game was Autonomous mode, in which the robot must function without human control.  The remaining two minutes are called “tele-op mode”. During this time, the goal is simply to score as many goals as possible. In the last 30 seconds, the robots can climb a up 30-inch rungs on a ladder-like tower to score extra points. At the end of the match, all points are totaled and a winning alliance is announced.

2013 Competitions

March 7th-8th: Gull Lake District at Gull Lake High School

March 22nd-23rd: West Michigan District at GVSU Allendale Campus