Gearheads compete in state championship


Photo courtesy of Gearheads

The gear heads competed in the state championship on April 14. They received the highest possible award.

The Gearheads– the For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology (FIRST) robotics competition team comprised of both North and South students– competed at the State Championship last Friday, April 14.

According to South student Ponette Rubio ’18, Safety and Business Captain of the Gearheads, the team has gone to four competitions total, three as part of Regionals and one for States.

“We had a pretty good robot, but there were things we didn’t anticipate as part of the game,” Rubio said. “But having that chance to go to States, we were able to improve and work on our robot.”

The Gearheads received the Chairman’s Award, the highest award possible from FIRST for the winning presentation given by Rubio and Grosse Pointe North student Ritika Pansare ’19, and submitted by the chairmen’s team, headed by South’s Hannah O’Grady ’19.  This award, which goes to the team the judges believe has had the greatest impact on their community, allowed the Gearheads to continue onto the state level, Rubio said.

“People were crying and it was a very emotional moment because we have never won it in the history of the team, and there were quite a few alumni from Gearheads who were there so there were quite a few tears,” Pansare said. “It was just extremely exciting.”

This season the Gearheads also received the Industrial Safety Award for the second year in a row, and Driver and Build Captain, South’s Josh Rigotti ’18, and Rubio were nominated for the Dean’s List Semi-finalist award by their mentors for their dedication and excellence.

At each event the teams have 12 qualification matches that last about two minutes and 15 seconds. During this time they try to shoot balls known as “fuel” into a raised boiler or loop about ten feet from the ground, followed by having to place 11-inch gears said Rigotti.

At the Howell District competition, their robot, the Twister, shot fuel into the boiler with an 80 percent accuracy rate and successfully climbed a rope nearly every time, another task, improving on Twister’s past performances, according to the Gearheads season summary.

“This season started out a little rough at our first competition which was at Centerline, but overall we got our act together and we really pulled together as a team,” Rigotti said. “I think it was a great season, especially because last year we lost a lot of our senior members and we lost two of our team captains, so I was quite proud of our team’s effort this year.”

Meetings are usually held on Thursdays from 6-9 am at the Grosse Pointe North Fabrications Shop.