Jesuit's Stealth Tigers Robotics team, along with dozens of top robotics teams from around the world, converged on the University of Central Florida on March 12 to begin three days of intense competition in the FIRST Robotics Orlando Regional.
For more than two months, the Stealth Tigers, a.k.a. Team 3164, had worked relentlessly in preparation for INFINITE RECHARGE, the Star Wars-themed competition for the spring 2020 FIRST Robotics FRC season – the top high school robotics competition.
The Stealth Tigers, who are comprised of students from Jesuit and Academy of the Holy Names, had set up their pit, a 10x10-foot space inside the belly of The Venue, where teams can fine tune and make adjustments before and after each round of competition. Team president Carson Reams ’20 and the Stealth Tigers were making final tweaks to the robot.
A number of the high school students had packed the 5,000+ seat arena, ready to cheer. The anticipation was at its peak. Meanwhile AHN junior Olivia Scarpo was representing the Stealth Tigers at the drivers’ meeting. That’s when Sandra Contreras, FIRST’s Regional Director, interrupted. With tears in her eyes, Contreras announced the competition was cancelled due to a volunteer testing positive for coronavirus.
“Everyone just kind of stood there like, ‘Wow. She actually said that?’” Scarpo said.
Stealth Tigers club moderator Eric Price, who is Jesuit’s engineering teacher, compared the timing of the postponement to that of a football game moments before kickoff.
“The equivalent is the whole team completing their sideline warm-ups,” Price said. “The ref calls the captains to the middle of the field and gives the sportsmanship talk. And then, all of a sudden, someone comes in and taps the ref on the shoulder and says, ‘Hey, we're not doing this.’”
All of the teams, including those from countries as far as Brazil, were told to pack everything up and leave calmly.
Just as it finally was about to get started, it was over.
The two-plus months of daily dedication – from the season launch in early January to arrival in Orlando two weeks ago – will not come to full resolution for Jesuit Robotics, since all spring 2020 FIRST Robotics events have been suspended.
However, despite the disappointment of not being able to see the fruits of their labor in competition – their fast and functionally skilled robot conquering the unique and specific challenges of INFINITE RECHARGE, and defeating the opposition – and despite missing out on the opportunity to earn another trip to the World Championships, the Stealth Tigers accomplished a great deal. The process, the weeks of brainstorming, designing, coding, cutting, building, collaborating, creating, testing, and learning, was invaluable.
FIRST Robotics implemented a new set of rules for this spring’s FRC challenge, including giving teams a few weeks longer than usual to work on the robots. According to Price and assistant moderator Jason Ault, the Stealth Tigers’ robot, named Switchblade, for its switchblade-like arm mechanism, was more polished heading into the regional competitions (Team 3164 also was scheduled to compete in the South Florida Regional in April) than any previous Stealth Tigers robot.
“Based on all of the tests we did with it, we were able to see that it shoots consistently, from a variety of distances, and can do the all of the things we had set it up to do,” he said. “The team did a phenomenal job creating this robot. It was primed for competition. It was outstanding.”
Team 3164 also benefited from Jesuit’s Engineering and Robotics Lab, a new, larger, and more equipped space featuring state-of-the-art machinery such as a 3D printer and CNC router. The computer numerical control router is a computer-controlled cutting machine used for cutting various hard materials, such as wood, composites, aluminium, steel, plastics, glass, and foams.
“It was really challenging because you have to make what you want on the computer first, and then you have to transfer it and set up all the cuts for it,” said Daniel Prendes ’20, a four-year veteran of the Stealth Tigers, about using the CNC router. “Seeing what comes out of that, and how precise it is, exactly what you designed, is really rewarding.”
Working together as a team toward a goal, day-in and day-out – including many long days on weekends – fostered great camaraderie. The superior workspace in the Engineering and Robotics Lab also boosted productivity.
The result was a memorable and impactful experience that the seniors will carry with them beyond their time at Jesuit. Alumni staying connected is part of the Jesuit Robotics tradition.
“Being (in college) next year, I’ll definitely still be in communication with all people in (Jesuit Robotics),” Prendes said. “It’s a big part of the club.”
Below are two short video links on Instagram of Jesuit's “Switchblade” robot during testing in the Engineering and Robotics Lab. Below that is a photo slideshow, and below that is a team roster:
- Jesuit robot claw - https://www.instagram.com/p/B9plnGdFLmR84vb4cmrYCRTNRjgeHwwNpPPqs40/
- Jesuit robot shooting - https://www.instagram.com/p/B9LhTQulNjEBZJikzTh9fbjzM6Iu2iHrnXTwdg0/
STEALTH TIGERS TEAM 3164 – 2019-20 Roster
Carson Reams ’20 - President
John Barreto ’21 - Captain / Mechanical Lead
Olivia Scarpo (AHN junior) - Captain / Mechanical Lead
Luca Valenti ’20 - Electrical Lead
Logan Kant ’22 - Design Lead
Alex Wasylik ’21 - Code Team Lead
Hector Duarte ’22 - Code Team Lead
Laura Caroline Jung (AHN sophomore) - Project Manager
Gabriela Consalvo (AHN senior) - Safety Lead
Dominic Newberg ’20
Daniel Prendes ’20
Georges Sfeir ’21
Patrick Cole ’22
Trey George ’22
Paul Gray ’22
Nathanael Moore ’22
Jaden Nelson ’22
David Serdiuk ’22
Aiden Shaw ’22
Kaden Wheeler ’22
Claire Wong ’22 (AHN sophomore)
Joshua Newman ’23
Jude Soriano ’23
Cooper Stack ’23
Luke Turner ’23