The Palmyra-based Krypton Cougars Robotics team ended its regular season with a career-best world championship run at the 2022 FIRST Robotics World Championship in Houston, Texas, advancing to the final round of the competition.
FIRST stands for “For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology” and is a robotics tournament where students spend the competition season designing and building a robot that performs various tasks such as sorting, driving, throwing, climbing and other mechanical functions to earn points.
The Cougars have been to Worlds before in 2019, but they raised the bar with their exceptional performance in 2022.
After getting their team in order and putting their robot in a U-Haul, the team headed to Texas to join the top 450 teams from 26 countries for the first in-person championship since 2019. More than 35,000 attendees came to see the teams battle it out with the machines the students and advisors built throughout the season.
Through strategic team play and a great performance, the Cougars made it to the final playoffs, the Einstein Division, where the best teams in the world compete. The Cougars finished 14th out of the top 75 teams and were selected to be part of an alliance of four robots in the final game that ultimately lost 2-3 in a tiebreak round.
The Cougars finished their season with a record of 52-16, the best in the program’s 15-year existence, with every event the group competed in resulting in a win or a second finalist spot.
Now the Krypton Cougars are recognized as one of the top FIRST Robotics Competition teams in the world.
“There aren’t really words that can fully describe it,” said Weaver Goldman, chief programmer and Hershey High School junior. “It’s just robotics on a different scale. The best teams in the world in one place. And you experience that in a huge room with countless people. Yes, a once in a lifetime experience.”
David Walker, a mentor who has served in some capacity with the team for 15 years, said the development of technology, resources and sponsorship gave the team an extra boost that helped it achieve its best season yet.
“While we’ve been on worlds and are reasonably used to success, this was certainly a little unexpected,” Walker said.
Hershey High School freshman Quinn Fegley, who helps make parts and pilots the robot, had previously been to Worlds as a spectator with his brother in 2019. But being there on the ground as part of the team left a lasting impression on him.
“We did really well this year, it was kind of unexpected, but I think everyone’s hard work really paid off,” said Fegley.
Despite the exceptional season, the Cougars can’t rest on their laurels as they head into the off-season competitions.
“Time flies a little too fast with robotics,” Goldman said. “Walking on worlds and seeing all these incredible robots is very inspiring, but it also gave us a lot of ideas for improvements we can make.”
More on the Krypton Cougars:Palmyra-based robotics team takes first district win: Eyeing National Championship
The team consists of four graduates from a pool of 21 students.
The Krypton Cougars are looking to expand their team with new members, mentors and sponsors. The team meets Tuesdays and Thursdays from 6pm to 9pm, Saturdays from 10am to 2pm and more frequently during competition season.
The team is open to all students in the area, regardless of school district or method. They are looking for more interested young minds to continue Krypton Cougar’s legacy.
The team is also looking for a new practice space, hoping to coordinate with a location that is accessible to students from both the Palmyra area and Hershey.
The Krypton Cougars can be found on their website, on Facebook or at [email protected]
Jack Panyard is a reporter for the USA TODAY Network. You can reach him at [email protected], 717-850-5935 or on Twitter at @JackPanyard.