Team members Justin Hall, Joel Brown, and Evan Johnston are pictured above next to the drivers for 19416 C3 Robotics during their world record match. (Justin Hall)
Team members Justin Hall, Joel Brown, and Evan Johnston are pictured above next to the drivers for 19416 C3 Robotics during their world record match.

Justin Hall

PCM’s Robotics Team sets world record

November 13, 2022

This year, PCM’s Robotics team, the PCM Alchemists, are in their third year of competition. For such a relatively new team they have managed to already make a rather significant name for themselves in the world of their competition.

The team competes in what is called the First Tech Challenge, (FTC).Every year teams of high school students from around the world are challenged to design robots from scratch around a game that is created for each season and released in September. These games are typically played as two on two matches, where there are four robots on the field at any given time. Matches are split into two types, qualifiers and elimination matches. For qualifiers, teams are randomly assigned, and in elimination matches, teams are able to select partners from the pool of other teams at an event. It is also from the elimination matches that the winners of any given event are declared, and the teams which are able to move onward to the next event are ultimately decided. This season’s game is entitled ‘Power Play,’ and sees teams rapidly and strategically placing cones on raised poles along a grid.

Despite the fact that the competition is a global one, because of the importance of selecting partners to work with in late-season elimination matches, scoring data from every single match is recorded and made public for the purposes of scouting. This means that even early-season local matches can matter. With this data, these matches can still influence a team's standings and viability even when the competition moves from being made up of predominantly
neighboring towns to representing places halfway across the globe. This season, well over 5000 teams are registered to compete, representing over 100 different countries around the globe.

On Saturday, Nov. 5, PCM hosted one of the first meets of the season at the middle school. In the 9th qualification match of the 12 played that day, the PCM Alchemists were paired with another local team, C3 Robotics, the two robots managed to surpass the season’s previous world record by a significant margin, scoring 193 points. For reference, the
opposing alliance in that match only managed to score a total of 9 points. Though the score was later passed by two elimination matches in Michigan, the score is still the single highest anyone has achieved in a qualification match this season. Furthermore, because of the robotics team’s strength and score contributions in other matches, they are currently also ranked among the top teams in the world by normalized OPR on FTC Stats. From their other qualification matches PCM now holds three of the ten highest scores in Iowa; a feat only more impressive once one considers that they have only played six matches total. Given this incredible performance, the PCM Alchemists look forward to what is rapidly shaping up to be an incredibly strong season.

The team's next competition is on the morning of Saturday, Nov. 19, at DMACC’s Urban campus.

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