Krypton Cougars robotics team crushes District Championships and heads to Worlds

Kamalini Nagarajan, Reporter

The Krypton Cougars, the Hershey-Palmyra robotics team, were a finalist in the FIRST (For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology) Mid-Atlantic District Championship at Stabler Athletic & Convocation Center in Bethlehem in March. This result qualifies them for the World Championship in Houston, Texas.

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With an insanely successful season so far, winning the Hatboro-Horsham, Springside-Chestnut Hill district events, and the Mid-Atlantic District championship, the Palmyra-Hershey robotics team will head to worlds this month. 

“We’re really excited to be going to worlds,” Charissa Ma scout on the team said.  At the competition, scouters watch ongoing matches and report details about the match back to the team. 

The panel labeled Black Pearl can be clearly seen. This design alludes to the pirates of the Caribbean ship, a choice made by the team as many of the robot’s elements are related to ships, such as the double jointed arm- where the first part is called the mast and the second is called the boom. (Krypton Cougars Media Team)

If you are unfamiliar with how FRC competitions work, here is a short explanation. Teams are tasked with completing a challenge, the 2023 challenge. The top teams in each division get to form their own alliance. This is a rather important part as you need the right balance to win, and this alliance competes together against another alliance in the challenge. 

The first district tournament of the season was Hatboro-Horsham, which took place during “week one” which is when all competitions kick off across the world. 

They were the first alliance captain for both district events, meaning they placed well during the ranking rounds and now get to choose who is on their team. “We are really excited because this is the first for us. Last year, this was the first time we placed first. Period,” Anshi Paul, the strategy lead, said, about this event. The team also won the Excellence in Engineering award at this competition. 

Krypton Cougars did well during the ranking rounds at the second district tournament, Springside-Chestnut Hill, and held the title of first alliance captain as well. 

“We had a lot of new features, such as the hand off, and fixed our pick up mechanism,” Paul said. Along with winning this tournament, the team also won the Autonomous Award for the features of their robot that made it easier to control, such as the completely automated arm. 

At the district championship, along with winning District Champion Finalist, Krypton Cougars also ranked 3rd for ranking points, which are earned through the various tasks presented on the gamefield- similar to goals in soccer, and 1st for OPR(Offensive Power Rating), defined as “an attempt to deduce the average point contribution of a team to an alliance”. 

“Being a higher performing team has its challenges. We are in a bit of a transition phase of being a world-class team,” Paul said. 

After extensive planning, called pre-scouting, where the team looks at previous matches and gathers data on how well other teams performed in order to determine who they should partner up with during the competition and try to predict the outcome of the actual matches, the team heads to Houston, TX this week. The international competition spans over four days, from April 19 to April 22.