Our team started with one of our students being invited to attend the FIRST Minnesota North Star Regional by her grandfather, a mentor on team #2977. After being inspired by the mission, community, and the competition, she decided it would be great to have a FIRST Robotics team in her area. She began with her school’s engineering club and writing a proposal to the principal. After gaining permission, it became apparent that the team needed a coach, mentors, and funding. With the help of her mother, they applied for the JCPenney’s grant for rookie teams. After contacting the regional director for this information, they connected with a student at Iowa State University looking to start a FRC team. The team then started having meetings before gaining students to work out the details like how the team would run and space and funding issues. After this, the team was ready to add students. They spread the news that Ames, Iowa had brought back a FIRST Robotics team, years after losing their original one. Neutrino then gained the dedicated mentors, students and coach that made the team a success.
After the 2012 season was over, the team’s main workspace at Ames High School was disbanded, so alternative plans were needed. Fortunately enough for the team, they were invited to join the Story County 4-H Program as Iowa’s FIRST 4-H FRC Team. 4-H offered a vast and diverse platform of resources Team Neutrino could tap into. The team was also excited to partner up with ISU Extension Outreach for the years to come.
This year the team used the workspace provided by ISU Extension Outreach, Boyd Lab and Mechatronics. This was a larger workspace than given by Ames High, so while losing their support was definitely not helpful, it was not the demise of the team. They were concerned for the future of the team, though, because most of the members were seniors this year. Fortunately, becoming affiliated with 4-H opened our team to members from towns other than Ames, and there is a very strong FLL community in and surrounding Ames. Many FLL veterans joined, and the legacy of the team continued.
In 2013 the team attended both the North Star regional and the Kansas city regional, reaching the finals in both. They were not invited to Champs, but they were invited to the Indiana Robotics Invitational (IRI), one of the most competitive off-season competitions. There they were proud to compete against some of the teams who won at Champs, and though they did not reach the finals, they had fun nonetheless.
In 2014, Team Neutrino competed in the Kansas City regional and the North Star regional again, and earned quarterfinalist status at both. At the North Star regional, the team was awarded Engineering Inspiration, which is given to the team with outstanding success in advancing respect and appreciation for engineering within their community. This award earned Team Neutrino a paid trip to the World Championships in St. Louis!
In St. Louis we had a win-loss record of 6-4, and during alliance selection we were picked to be the 4th robot on the 4th seed alliance (in the Newton division)! We ended up being semifinalists on the Newton field (similar to the Sweet 16 in March Madness).
For our 2015 season, Team Neutrino went to the Central Illinois and North Star regional competitions. The team placed as quarterfinalists in both, and team member Dagney Paskach was awarded the Dean’s List Finalist Award at North Star. During the off-season event Cowtown Throwdown, Team Neutrino was chosen by the #2 alliance, who ended up winning the competition.
In the 2016 Stronghold season, Team Neutrino competed at the inaugural Iowa Regional as well as the Minnesota North Star regional. This year, the team mentored rookie FRC Team 5935. At the Iowa Regional, Neutrino battled robot issues to be ranked 33 and be chosen for the seventh seed alliance. Despite winning their first quarterfinal match, their alliance was beaten in the following two matches and was eliminated.
Undaunted the team continued with further robot improvements prior to the North Star regional. There, they ranked 15 and were picked by the fourth alliance seed captain. Despite the alliance captain having to be substituted out after the first match, the team triumphed in the quarterfinals and moved on to the semifinals. The semifinals were extremely close. After winning the first match and losing the second, the team was barely eliminated by having one point less than the opposition. The team still garnered a Judge’s Award for technical and non-technical accomplishments. This award was a reflection of all the team accomplished in previous seasons and the 2016 one.
For the 2017 season, Team Neutrino attended the Iowa and Minnesota North Star Regionals, as well as the World Championships in St. Louis. At the Iowa regional, the team was seeded 15th and was picked for the seventh seed alliance which was eliminated in the quarterfinals. Junior Rucha Kelkar Dean’s List Finalist Award at Iowa. At the Minnesota North Star Regional, the team was ranked second and captained the second seed alliance. Team Neutrino’s alliance made it to the semifinals, where we were eliminated in a close series of matches The team won their first Blue banner with the Chairman’s Award, sending them to the championships in St. Louis.
At St. Louis, the team had a win-loss-tie record of 6-5-1 and was seeded fifteenth. We were picked for the 8th seed alliance and were eliminated in the quarterfinals to the eventual world finalists. The 2017 season was very successful both in team growth and in performance.