Updated: Feb 27, 2022
Guild of Gears
Guild of Gears may not be widely heard of at the high school, but they had quite the exciting season. The team, coached by art teacher Michele Mess, started their work in September and competed a total of eight times throughout the following five months. They competed in five practice meets within the “blue league” which included teams from the quad-cities (Iowa) and surrounding areas, sometimes as far as Dubuque. Of these five meets, Guild of Gears won only 14 of the 30 matches that they competed in. Austin Lee, a senior on the robotics team this year and lead builder stated: “this statistic may not look very impressive. But there is a reason for this. Our strategy during the early season is to create a very simple robot to send to the practice meets while we work on a more competitive robot. This eliminates all the stress of having a competition robot ready for every weekend and allows us to make changes during the season. This allows us to test and optimize the robot for the qualifiers at the end of the season.”
By using this strategy, the team made it all the way through super-qualifiers and on to state. Although the robot is extremely important in robotics—hence the name—it is not the only factor that can lead a team to state. Our team advanced from super-qualifiers from the awards they won. They were able to clench the trip to state from earning the “innovate” and “motivate” awards. These may seem like simple terms, however they harbor a greater meaning. The “innovate” award rewards the team with a unique, inventive, and effective design. This was especially important to the team because it represented the hard work that the builders put into the process. Mitchell Mess, another senior builder, was especially effective in bringing the design to life. In addition to this, the “motivate” award exemplified the work that Guild of Gears had put into spreading STEAM (Science Technology Engineering Art and Math) throughout the community. Since our team is so diverse, it was quite easy for them to incorporate all the aspects of STEAM into their community work.
From an outside perspective, state robotics was about the most confusing thing that I could endure. However, this does not undermine its importance or quality. Upon arrival into the area (a covered hockey rink), I was amazed. The colorful booths set up by each team were something to marvel at, and they really incorporated the A in STEAM. Our booth was especially impressive. The Art Club, which meets every Thursday, built a castle-like structure with a medieval theme to represent the Guild of Gears. It was definitely the best one out there. At state, Guild of Gears had quite the performance, winning three of the six matches they were in. Although this statistic may not seem awfully favorable, the team performed really well against tough competition. In fact, this competition was so skilled that an alliance, including the winning team, Enginerds, set the third-highest record in the world during one of their matches. Out of all the matches, match three had the most turmoil, yet the biggest success. Austin Lee stated, “in match three, our [alliance] partner died and we had to play two against one. Somehow, we ended up winning!” It was a great win for the robotics team, and a fond memory that the seniors would have forever. Isaac Simmons, a coach along with Adriana Phillips, stated, “while we didn’t move on, I’m still happy. Yes, there are things I may have wanted to go differently, but overall I feel we did really well.”
The robotics team will be losing five seniors this year: Austin Lee, Isaac Simmons, Mitchell Mess, Adrianna Phillips, and Athena Nelson. These members have contributed so much to the robotics team throughout their years and will be greatly missed. Although their departure may be sad, Guild of Gears is currently working on rebuilding and training the younger members. They meet every Thursday, and are eager to add some new members to the roster!