Highlander Robotics finishes 2nd in division at Worlds

Banshee (center) and partners climb the chain in the last moments of the match.

Last week, 50 thousand people and 600 teams from 15 countries converged on Houston to attend the 4-day FIRST World Championship where Team 8033 Highlander Robotics went undefeated during qualification rounds and finished 2nd in the Milstein Division playoffs, placing them in the top 0.5% of all competitors internationally with their robot “Banshee”.

Highlander Robotics members tune Banshee on the practice field between matches.

The FIRST Robotics Competition announces a new game each January to be played by two alliances of three robots in an arena about the size of a basketball court. Roughly 3,500 teams of 9th to 12th graders construct an entirely new robot each season and competitions begin 6 weeks after kickoff. In this year’s musically themed game, Crescendo, robots up to 125 pounds and 4-feet tall score points by scoring 14-inch foam rings called “notes” in a variety of targets up to 6.5-feet off the ground before climbing chains mounted across a truss structure called the “stage”.

Teams who qualified for the World Championship at regional tournaments in seven countries were placed into eight divisions. Each team then played in 10 qualifying rounds with randomly selected partners and opponents, after which the highest ranked eight teams became alliance captains and were able to draft three others to work with throughout the double-elimination playoff brackets.

Fifty thousand people attended the FIRST World Championship last week.

The Highlanders, in their third Worlds appearance in as many years, were one of only five teams in the field of 600 that remained undefeated during qualifications. In the playoffs they became captain of the second seeded alliance and selected 6329 The Bucks’ Wrath from Bucksport, ME, 2713 Red Hawk Robotics from Melrose, MA and 1730 Team Driven from Lees Summit, MO. The alliance won two straight in the upper bracket before falling 127-104 to the first seed alliance, captained by 604 Quixilver from San Jose, after a heavily defended Banshee tripped its main circuit breaker and was rendered immobile for the final 30 seconds of the match. In the lower bracket semi-finals, in which the Highlanders were eliminated last year, they narrowly saw victory against an alliance captained by former Texas State Champion 6800 Valor from Austin when a 113-113 result went to tie breaks. In the best of three division finals, the Highlanders once again faced the first seed captained by Quixilver and lost in two: 141-135, 151-82.

Mechanical Lead Ilana Zimmerman tells judges about Banshee’s design process.

Banshee was operated by Vaughn Khouri and Max Seiden and supported by drive coach Justin Green, technician Alex Gish, and human player Chloe Kessinger. 

Highlander Robotics was founded in 2019 by brothers Henry and Charlie Lambert and is composed of 62 students from 17 high schools around the area. They work from the Mary G Ross Engineering Lab at Piedmont High School. For more information visit the team on the web at frc8033.com. 

Leave a Reply

The Exedra comments section is an essential part of the site. The goal of our comments policy is to help ensure it is a vibrant yet civil space. To participate, we ask that Exedra commenters please provide a first and last name. Please note that comments expressing congratulations or condolences may be published without full names. (View our full Comments Policy.)

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *