HOT Team impresses while hosting competition


(Photo courtesy of HOT web site).

The HOT team’s robot (67) competes by shooting balls into the center basket. The team was the top seed in the tournament after an impressive showing during the preliminary round

Zack Bonza-Brodie, Staff Writer

Milford High School’s Heroes Of Tomorrow (HOT) robotics team is one of the best in the world. They have won multiple world championships and consistently win Regional and States championships. On March 10, the HOT robotics team kicked off their season with the Milford regional competition, hosted at Milford High School.
The team came prepared with the robot they had been building since the beginning of 2022. Robotic company F.I.R.S.T. (For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology) is the creator behind the various games the robot has to accomplish at each competition. The HOT built their robot with these tasks in mind, and worked all season to prove they had the best robot to complete the challenge.
This year, the challenge is complex. The robot must first shoot a ball into a basketball net-like hood, and then navigate monkey bars in which the robot doesn’t just swing across flat horizontal bars, but must navigate both horizontally and vertically, climbing higher and higher across four bars. This all has to be accomplished while working with two other alliance (team) partners from different schools against another team of three.
To solve these issues, the team created an interesting design involving a new drive type which allows them to move in any direction at any time. This, in combination with a dual in-take (meaning they can collect balls from 2 sides of their robot as opposed to one) and a robust climber, will allow them to quickly traverse to the highest bar. After an entire season of building and count-less hours of hard work, the team put their robot to the test in their first competition.
The event is structured into two separate sections. The first section is the qualification rounds, consisting of 72 matches. In these matches, alliances are randomly as-signed and changed every match. These matches are played to determine a teams overall ranking. The second section contains the elimination matches, in which the top eight ranked teams pick two alliance partners each that they will play with for the rest of the event. The eight teams then face off in a bracket style competition where an alliance must win two out of its three matches to advance. This continues all the way up to the finals match where the final two alliances face off against each other to win the entire event.
The HOT team started their day with a rough couple of matches only winning one of their first four qualification matches. After each match, the team improved their robot, making sure that nothing would go wrong for the next match. Although the team’s morning did not go exactly how they wanted, match number five was where the team really started to take off.
They performed flawlessly and set a new high score of 93 points, beating the other team by 42 points. Match number five was only the start of their domination as the team played more matches and they picked up more steam. As the HOT team competed all throughout Friday night and Saturday morning they won every remaining qualification match, climbing swiftly through the ranks, finally landing the number one seed.
Going into the elimination matches, the HOT team got the first and last pick for alliance selections. Once the selections were made, they went into the elimination matches. The team easily won the first set of quarter finals matches, moving on to the semi-finals. The first semi-final match was an incredible match, with the scores going back and forth in terms of who was ahead the entire match.
At the end, there was a 95 to 95 tie. Tension filled the air as the announcer announced how the tie breakers worked. There were three tie breakers in total for the match. In the first two tie breakers, the teams tied again. The third tie breaker was how many balls an alliance got in the autonomous period where a predetermined program drove the robot instead of the driver. Sadly, the HOT team had one less ball in the autonomous period, so the match was declared a loss for them.
They went in the next match against the same alliance with lots of pressure as they needed to win this to have a chance of winning the best two out of three and going onto the finals. They played an amazing match and won 82 to 70. Now it all came down to the third match of the semi-final round. Whoever won got to move on, and whoever lost was out. The alliances both drove their robots and maneuvered around the field with a determination un-seen in the event before. Although the HOT team’s robot performed absolutely flawlessly, the other alliances’ robots combined were enough to overcome the team, and they scored a record breaking 114 points to win the final match. As a result of this, the HOT team was eliminated and the event was over for them.
Although the team didn’t win as they hoped, it still was an incredibly successful event for them. “Our team did awesome; we were the best robot there,” she said. “There are just some things you can’t control. Talent only gets you so far; luck has to get you the rest of the way.” The HOT team came first individually, and even in the match they were eliminated in they achieved the second highest score of the entire event, only being beaten by the alliance they were against in that same match.
This meet was an incredible showing for our robotics team, but it was hardly all that the team had to offer. Even now they are back working to improve their robot in every way they can think of in order to come back even stronger next time. So if you want to come see the HOT robotics team and experience the result of all of the hard work these Milford, Lakeland and IA students have put in, come watch them in their next events. Their next regional com-petition is in Troy on March 31. – April 2., followed closely by the State champion-ship in Detroit from April 13-16. Seeing how well they’ve done so far, this team is sure to be on a hot