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Class of 2018
Tuesday, May 31, 2016

Against all Odds: Nemesis at World Championships

Robbinsville High School FIRST Robotics Team 2590 Nemesis has a long history of overcoming adversity, one way or another. As elimination matches begin on day two of the FIRST World Championship, this big time team from the small time town of Robbinsville, NJ, faced a challenge they had been versed in many times before. A long night of strategic analysis-- and some lengthy debate-- had paid off.The team was prepared to enter the final chapter of another wildly successful season. The mood was mixed; some team members felt goosebumps rise as the thrill of competition seemed to surround them. Others, an ecstatic excitement. But everyone shared a feeling of accomplishment and gratitude just to compete in St. Louis.

Alliance selection. Team 973, in first place, chose team 610, in twelfth place. No one could believe their eyes. Had team 973 just taken themselves and their alliance out of the running for division champions? Surely, there was some clever strategy at play. Team 2590 was up to choose, and invited team 225, as according to plan. The rest of the Alliance selection went mostly as expected, leaving Nemesis as captains of the second seed alliance, their highest-ever elimination round ranking at worlds, with teams 2590, 225, 2067, and team 11, MORT, as the backup player.

In competition, they say, if something can go wrong, it probably will. On Carson field, some of the world’s most resilient robots were succumbing to the constant stress of battle and breaching obstacle after obstacle. There were casualties every match. It wasn’t long before alliance two suffered its own loss, and Nemesis’ best shooting alliance partner, 225, was incapacitated. Nevertheless, the team fought on. Two matches later, team 2067’s robot also took some serious damage. For the first time that day, team 2590 faced a loss. A feeling of dread began to filter through the sea of red Nemesis shirts as deja vu spread over them. Everyone remembered what had happened earlier in the season at the South Florida Regional, when both of Nemesis’ alliance partners broke down, causing the trio to fall in the finals.

But alas, as fate would have it, history did repeat itself. The alliance won one match in the quarterfinals, then lost one, and lost another. All but alone on the field, there was little team 2590 could do to stop it. They finished their season as quarterfinalists at World Championships. Perhaps not quite what they were expecting, but a performance to be proud of all the same.

After the competition, the team went out to eat and spent the following day at the City Museum of St. Louis, a whimsical establishment where people of all ages can climb through huge, interactive exhibits and sculptures. For these budding engineers, it was quite an enjoyable experience. That night, Nemesis packed their bags and boarded a plane for Newark, NJ, arriving home in the wee hours of the morning. It was an incredible end to an incredible experience. See you next year, FRC!