Gearheads build on success

Maddie Turnbull '24, Staff Writer

For nineteen years, the Gearheads, the combined North-South robotics team, has been recognized for their designs and inventions.
Each season they are presented with different challenges. This year, they were challenged to build a robot that could pick up large tennis balls and shoot them into a target in the middle of the room. At the end of the game, the robots raced to climb monkey bars.The Gearheads were able to complete the challenge with a small group of students and a few team advisors.
“Our robot gradually progressed,” captain from Grosse Pointe North Drew Behringer ’24 said. “Even after completing competition, we saw inconsistencies and ways that we could improve and perform better. When we returned, we looked to improve the bot in different ways. Whether it was the climber or our autonomous mode, we were always changing or adding things to the bot that allowed us to perform stronger than we had in previous competitions.”
With a team of only fifteen students, all members need to work together to build the robot, which was especially challenging during COVID.
“Our team was significantly smaller this year due to senior graduations and COVID,” Peter Hoffman ’23 said. “There were several days where only four people showed up and worked on the robot during the build season.”
With a strong team bond, the Gearheads were able to work their way from being ranked twenty second at the Macomb District Competition to winning first place.
“We knew from our performance at the Macomb event that we could compete with some of the best robots in the state,” Behringer said. “However, we knew what a challenge it would be to compete at States, especially being on what was considered the best field at the state championship.”
Going into the state competition, the Gearheads were excited to be competing in a large-scale competition for the first time since the 2020 season ended. With a new challenge, a new team and a new robot, the Gearheads were excited for this year’s competition no matter what happened.
“We have never won States, although we have qualified for Worlds and attended in 2018,” Hoffmann said. “This year we finished seventieth in State, which is five spots short of qualifying for the World Championship.”