The student news site of Londonderry High School

Lancer Spirit Online

Breaking News
The student news site of Londonderry High School

Lancer Spirit Online

The student news site of Londonderry High School

Lancer Spirit Online

Plundering the competition; PVC Pirates at FRC World Championships

Sean O’Donnell
The Einstein Field sets in an ominous light on the competing teams, who are searching for the title of best in the world.

Coming to the end of an extremely successful season, the LHS Robotics Team, also known as FRC Team 1058, the PVC Pirates, has gone to the highest peaks of the First Robotics Competition. With going to the World Championships and pushing their way to the top in the Einstein Division, there is much to be celebrated for the team.

“My favorite part about the trip was the fact that we went together as a team and the bonding experience,” junior team member Janthony Delacruz said. “The amount of different people that were there from different countries was interesting. I really didn’t expect us to win our division and get as far as we did in the final competition.”

The PVC Pirates pose out front of the First Robotics statue in Houston, Texas. (Jess Howard)

Before the team made it to Houston, they had to go through three competitions earlier in their season, taking place all over the east coast. From Rhode Island, to New Hampshire, and finally landing in Massachusetts, the Pirates had to arrive at the events in one piece, but also place in second at two events and sixth at District Championships. However, placing as they did almost wasn’t enough to make the cut, so the team had to prepare for championships.

“After DCMP we sat down and talked about any changes we want to make to the robot to prepare and make it the best version it could be before going to Texas,” senior team member Alex Harrison said. “In addition we talked about what our schedule looked like up until the day we left. At the event everyone was doing their job when needed and we were always prepared before matches.”

Preparation seemed to pay off for the team. If it was not for the members, this feat would have had no shot of getting off of the ground. From a dedicated programming team, to a well thought out design and hard working manufacturing group, the team was incredibly well put together from the start of build season all the way up until the end of the last competition. 

“I can’t say I’m an expert on the physical aspects, but I can talk about the code,” senior team member and accomplished programmer Sean O’Donnell said. “Thanks to Windham Wind-up allowing us to practice autonomous routines at SWAT (Salem Windham At Toyota), we had the capability to go for two middle notes during the autonomous period, which was a big game changer. We were also able to quickly adapt to the popular passing strategy by just lowering the RPM of our shooter to get the perfect shooting range for passing. Other aspects of the code allowed for easier operation of the robot including a heading PID controller, limelight shooting, and easy to learn/customizable controls.”

The PVC Pirates stand triumphantly on the Milstein field at the 2024 FRC World Championships. (First Robotics)

Once they were at the competition, the magnitude of their competitors really set in, as they were faced with a roster of over 300 teams from around the world across eight divisions. In their division, the Milstein division, the team was in for a good battle almost every match. From California to Australia, there were bound to be fierce competitors from all over the world. With that being stated, Team Captain Brendon Saranich believed that there was always hope for the team. 

“With how long I’ve been in first this competition felt like the perfect culmination of years of work, reaching a point that felt so far away 4 years ago,” team captain Brendon Saranich said. “The team has changed quite a bit over the last several years, becoming much more competitive through a variety of strategies.”

Facing the onslaught of teams, the Pirates were able to come away from their qualifying matches in a rather precarious spot. Placing in the middle of the pack due to some mechanical failures earlier on, the team was on edge coming into selections for playoff teams. After being selected by the first ranking seed as a third member, the team was ecstatic. Although they could not directly play in the playoff matches, they would be used at the same level as the teams who were, being ready to play whenever needed. Their alliance proceeded to win the division, winning the Pirates their first victory banner in over five years.

The Milstein Division winners (including the LHS Robotics team) pose on the Crescendo game field. (First Robotics)

“For winning the division,” O’Donnell said. “I was amazed that we were going to compete in the Einstein division, a little bit disappointed that we hadn’t directly competed in playoff matches, but still proud that we were ready to perform at a high level if we needed to be substituted in.”

Although they won their division, this was not the end of the road for the team. In the First Robotics Competition World Championship, the winners of the eight alliances play in a final bracket known as the Einstein Division, an accumulation of the top 32 best teams in the world. With the PVC Pirates only making one Einstein appearance prior to the 2024 season, the team  joined the total of 81 teams that have made it to the coveted division multiple times.

“We’ve had very skilled people join,” Saranich said. “We have also expanded our training efforts to specialize more. Now, when at events, everyone has very specific, assigned, jobs based on what they like and are good at. This means that people can focus on what they’re best at. We’re unique in many ways, but I personally feel that a lot of it comes from the great team dynamic and group. Individuals are comfortable pitching new ideas and solutions, and we’ve been able to see a lot of perspectives, as well as have a ton of fun.”

During their time in Einstein, the team was able to win one match before getting knocked out, placing them into fifth place for the season. With such fierce competition, the final division was an eye opening experience for all of the team members, both new and old. Coming back to Londonderry, the Pirates are in high spirits and believe that this incredible feat may be repeated next year; however, it will take a lot of work.  Securing fifth place in the world is not an easy task, but the team is still hungry for more.

“It was an unforgettable experience,” Harrison said. “Although I am leaving this summer, the team has got it down for next year’s season.”

Leave a Comment
More to Discover
About the Contributor
Sean Cornett
Sean Cornett, Multimedia Editor
Joining the Lancer Spirit staff for his first year, Sean Cornett will be the new multimedia editor, aiding in anything involving a camera or a microphone. Behind the camera, Sean has shot anything from mountainous landscapes to action sports. However, in his free time he also enjoys playing his guitar, or escaping to the woods on his bike or skis, weather permitting. Outdoors and adventures aside, he also enjoys robotics and is no stranger to spending hours wrenching on all kinds of things. Whether he is out in the woods or in the shop, Sean will jump at any opportunity to be behind a camera.

Comments (0)

The Lancer Spirit editorial board welcomes your comments. We reserve the right to delete/edit comments that contain the following: Off-topic statements or links, abusive content, vulgarity, poor grammar, personal attacks or spam.
All Lancer Spirit Online Picks Reader Picks Sort: Newest

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