Late on a Monday night in the basement of Wilson Hall, “the Cavalry” is hard at work. Three or four boys sit in the rectangular field, studying their latest creation and seeking their next challenge. A banner of maroon and gold hangs behind them: “2019 State Champions, 2018 State Champions, 2017 State Champions, . . .” Soon to be added: 2020 State Champions.
The streak seems endless; the accolades are countless. But the Cavalry remains motivated: they continue on their quest for dominance.
On February 29, the Cavalry secured their tenth-straight Pennsylvania State Championship. This impressive record certainly reflects the talent on the robotics team, but such a feat cannot be accomplished without an overall culture of excellence.
“We always put in a lot of hours, more hours than most teams do,” Sixth Former Daniel Chow said. “We also just have a culture of passing down knowledge from previous years, and that collective learning is what makes our team so strong.”
The idea of sharing strategies and insight from one generation to the next is especially important in robotics, which relies heavily on knowledge.
Sixth Former Toby Ma said, “In the early season — before Winter Break — we don’t need to worry a lot about states yet, because we’re still in the local competitions. So during that time, we can work with the freshmen teams or the younger kids to make sure they learn the same ideas we’ve been using for the past three or four years.”
On the technical side, Ma believes consistency has allowed the Cavalry’s robots to be dominant.
“The team is really dedicated to high-quality building,” Ma said. “When we’re building the robot we’re taking care of how the robot is constructed, making sure every subsystem is built correctly, and we are also testing throughout the entire building process to make sure [it] works consistently.”
Sixth Former Aditya Sardesai attributes success to the team’s growth, as well as its ability to maintain a competitive mindset.
“Because we’ve had three years to learn as a team, we can now do more advanced things. We can do certain programming stuff, or mechanical stuff better than we could three years ago, but I think the way the team works as a whole of always pushing to be the best hasn’t changed,” Sardesai said.
This dedication highlights the Cavalry’s competitiveness. As they seek improvement, the Cavalry still tries to foster a well-balanced environment.
“We’re really light-hearted, but we’re also serious in the sense that we always want to win everything,” Chow said. “The team has always had a culture of wanting it all, but I think now more than ever we’re hunting for that world championship. We’ve always been successful every year, but the world championship has eluded us. Each year we don’t get it, we want it even more.”
“We’ve won sixth divisions [at the World Championships], but the title of being World Champion has evaded us in the past.”Aditya Sardesai ’20
The World Championship is set to take place in Louisville Kentucky, toward the end of April. This year, the Cavalry feels ready to take the title.
“We’ve won sixth divisions [at the World Championships], but the title of being World Champion has evaded us in the past,” Sardesai said. “So the goal — as it is every year — is to bring a world championship back to Haverford.”