The Student News Site of Shawnee Mission Northwest


The Student News Site of Shawnee Mission Northwest


The Student News Site of Shawnee Mission Northwest


Robotics team set to attend World Competition

Jack Pischke
Junior Venti Neaderhiser and senior Dylan Paflas work on their robot March 21 in Room C. The robotics team worked on their robot, Fred, to prepare for the FRC Worlds competition. “I was working with the bumpers on our robot that protect [the] frame [for] when we hit or bump into something,” Neaderhiseri said. “We have put a lot of work into building and coding the robot and have run into many difficulties but we have overcome every issue.” photo by Jack Pischke

On March 9, the Robotics team was invited by FIRST Robotics to the World Competition in Houston, Texas from April 17-20. Around a month before, the team was on the winning alliance at the qualifying Central Missouri Regional Competition. 

Starting in September, the team began preparing for the CowTown Throwdown at Lee’s Summit High School, however the official season began in January. Once receiving the robot’s objective, which this year is to pick up 14 inch foam rings off the ground and then shoot them 7 feet into the scoring area, they could begin brainstorming. 

“There’s a lot of physics involved in figuring out where we need to place the wheels and pick up the game pieces from different angles,” Junior Venti Neaderhiser said. 

According to Neaderhiser, the robot is made from an aluminum frame and many pieces are reused from previous years.  

“We named our robot Ferb,” Neaderhiser said.

They began assembling Ferb towards the end of February. Production went from the mechanical to the programming team, which handles coding.

Challenges they’ve faced this season include rethinking the intake design, space issues, and difficulty with electrical components such as wiring. 

The cost to register the team in the competition is $6,000, however additional travel expenses raise that total to an estimation between 15 and $20,000. Sponsor Sarah Frederickson is in communication with district officials and corporate sponsors to raise the funds.

As of now, the team is concerned with packing spare parts and making adjustments to the robot.  

Countries including Brazil, Japan, Israel and Australia will be participating in the competition. According to robotics club president senior Miles Cohen there’s an estimation of three to four hundred teams, which they will compete against in alliances (groups of 6). Cohen said there is one match happening at a time in one field during a “normal” competition. However, at Worlds due to the influx of teams there will be eight fields, meaning eight matches will be taking place at once.

The team has gone to Worlds in 2018, and qualified in 2020, which was canceled due to COVID regulations. 

While members such as Cohen feel anxiety as the competition approaches, they continue focus less on the aspect of winning and more on participation.

“To go to Worlds is an opportunity that some robotics teams will never get to take,” Cohen said. “Our team started in 2007, and in the first ten years we never got the chance to go to Worlds. So this is really special.”



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Sofia Ball
Sofia Ball, Writer
Hi! My name is Sofia Ball and I am a writer for the Northwest Passage. Writing started out as a hobby for me. Something I never imagined I would be good at until about 7th grade after taking a creative writing class with Dr. Van Zant. I just started out as a freshman, and already, I've come to know and love many of the classes, teachers and students here at Northwest. I’d like to think of myself as an extrovert, but most of my freetime is spent either reading, writing or watching Netflix in my bedroom. I used to watch The Office all the time before it got removed. The only time you'll ever see me out and about is probably at Cross Country or Track practice. You may even see me handing out our latest newspaper issues around the school.

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