Robotics Team Competes at World Championships

Hans Janovy Meyer, staff writer

Green Machine is not only the overpriced green juice sold in the cafeteria, it’s also the Edina High School robotics team. This year, a dedicated roster of 34 students took their robot, “Zzbot,” all the way to the world stage.

If the 2018 season for The Green Machine and Zzbot could be summarized into one word, it would be “victorious.” The team’s season started strong in early March at the Lake Superior Regional competition, held in Duluth, MN. The Green Machine took home two awards, the “UL Safety Runner-Up” award and the “Entrepreneurship Award,” which EHS Senior and team Captain Harini Josyer explains “celebrates a team which has a really solid business plan and has thought through their strengths and weaknesses and has a really good foundation for who they are as a team.” Junior Morgan Sheehy was also presented with the “FIRST Dean’s List Finalist Award” at the Lake Superior regional.

Following the season’s first competition, The Green Machine ventured to the Medtronic Foundation Regional close to home at the University of Minnesota. “We won the ‘Chairman’s Award’ which is the most prestigious award that you can win, and that award celebrates the impact that you have on your community and the fact that you’re changing culture to value STEM. So we won that award and then we again won the ‘UL Safety Runner-Up Award’… because we won the chairman’s award we qualified for World Championships which were held in Detroit,” Josyer said.

At the Detroit Championship, the Green Machine won the “Chairman’s Finalist Award.” To be a finalist for the Chairman’s award is the result of being one of the top three teams at the championship, competing against 404 other teams from all over the world. “It means a lot to the whole team, everybody worked very very hard, especially the presenters, and it’s an honor to be a member of a team that’s a chairman’s finalist and we’re hoping to go next year and win it all,” Oscar Wenham, EHS sophomore and Green Machine rookie said.

Just because their team name is The Green Machine, doesn’t mean they’re made of money. To build, program, and compete with a robot is a very expensive feat. 17 sponsors, including the software giant Microsoft, medical device manufacturer Medtronic, and the multibillion-dollar conglomerate Cargill provide financial support to the team.

Continuing their winning streak, The Green Machine took third place in the Minnesota State competition on May 19. The dedication put into the sport by the team members is intense. “Over the six weeks of build season we meet 36 hours a week, which is six hours every day after school and then six hours on Saturday,” Assistant Captain, Build Lead, and EHS Junior Aiden Swann said. “Companionship is uncanny to any other sport or community that I’ve been a part of. We spend so much time together that it’s really, really hard to not, in my opinion, consider the team as like your best friends and the bonds that you build are incredible,” Wenham said.