Every year, the Worcester Polytechnic Institute in Massachusetts holds a signature event entitled “The Wave.” On December 3, teams from all over the country gathered to compete over the weekend in a robotics competition. This year, the Fords sent three teams to the tournament: 169Y, 169E, and 169A.
Sixth Formers and members of team 169A Adamya Aggarwal, Ethan Saddler, Josiah Somani, and Elijah Lee competed throughout the weekend before eventually making their way to the championship round. Head Coach Mr. Adam Meyers had already foreseen the team’s success.
“I knew we were going to have success on the first night when we were able to focus on scrimmages instead of some of the other preliminary tasks.”Mr. Adam Meyers
“I knew we were going to have success on the first night when we were able to focus on scrimmages instead of some of the other preliminary tasks,” Coach Meyers said. “Because the boys knew that everything else was taken care of, they could focus on just having success during the rest of the tournament.”
Coach Meyers also sensed the confidence gained by the team during the qualification rounds.
“The fact that they did well in qualifications meant that when they went into the elimination rounds, not only were they in good spirits and attitudes, they had the confidence to meet the moment,” Coach Meyers said.
In the final round of the tournament, the Sixth Formers were able to close the weekend with an impressive victory.
“In the final round, it was best-of-three,” Sixth Former Adamya Aggarwal said. “We actually lost the first round; they had a better strategy there. And then we finally figured out our strategy in the final two rounds and won by a pretty big margin.”
The team had several reasons for their success, starting with the robot itself.
Sixth Former Elijah Lee said, “I think we had a very well-designed robot, with good speed relative to other competitors and defensive capabilities.”
During the tournament, they also received help from an ally, which, according to Coach Mr. Will Leech, was one of the key reasons for their success.
“They allied with a team from Colorado who had a very good robot that had slightly different skills tot he robot that we had.”Mr. Will Leech
“They allied with a team from Colorado who had a very good robot that had slightly different skills to the robot that we had,” Mr. Leech said. “So we were covering a wide area of bases: we weren’t focusing on one thing, we were looking into the whole tactics of the game, which was a really big advantage.”
169A displayed exceptional teamwork throughout the tournament, a defining characteristic of the team.
“The best part is the cohesion between us, especially because everyone has their own role,” Aggarwal said. “We have two coders and two builders on our team, but we can look at what another person is doing and try to help out or comment on something.”
It is clear that the team shares a bond, one which has allowed them to overcome adversity this year.
“After an unsuccessful tournament in Tennessee, the seniors responded by recognizing that there are some parts of robotics that just don’t work,” Coach Meyers said. “Being able to go in and work relentlessly every day, just on the hope that you make improvements, shows a lot of resolve, and I think speaks to the bigger missions of the school.”
The coaches were impressed with the team’s work ethic and determination to achieve their goals.
“We’ve got a really hard-working robotics team,” Coach Leech said. “The boys have put in hundreds and hundreds of hours into this program—boys that understand a lot about coding, about the construction of a robot, but also the game dynamic in terms of how to play the tactics of the game.”
Eventually, the efforts paid off, as the seniors left Massachusetts with the tournament championship.
“It felt really good because we had come off a not-great showing at the last competition we went to,” Lee said. “It was good to see our hard work pay off and to be able to celebrate.”
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