The BreakerBots are Back!


Written by Mitali Chowdhury , Journalist

The BreakerBots are already off to a strong start this school year! Over the summer, the team had held regular meetings to plan for the off-season, make improvements to their robot Athena, and launch their new website at as part of their expanded focus on the business and media aspects of robotics.

Once the school year started, the team hoped to draw in some new members and held two Open-House events for interested students to see what robotics was all about. Although the team had shrunk greatly after the class of 2018 graduated, they now have many new members excited to contribute their skills to the design, building, electrical, programming, and business subteams.

Their first major event this offseason, the CalGames competition, began on Friday, October 5, at Woodside High School. The initial qualifying matches included both impressive victories and not-so-impressive defeats. Driver Liam Snow noted that he was nervous and had some difficulty during his first few matches, but eventually, he began to enjoy himself and figure out what was working best. By Saturday afternoon, although the BreakerBots were ranked 20 out of 36, their performance had been noticed by some of the higher ranked teams. This allowed them to join the sixth seeded alliance for the final elimination rounds.

Facing the third ranked alliance in the quarterfinals, the BreakerBots’ alliance lost the first match by a mere ten points. A quick change in strategy and the burst of energy inspired by the close score, however, allowed the alliance to win the next match. A similar performance in the tiebreaker match advanced them to the semifinals. Although they played well enough to call for another tiebreaker in the semifinals, all three teams in the alliance were experiencing mechanical difficulties and were not able to advance to the finals.

All members of the team who attended the competition considered it a success, specifically pointing to the brand-new drive team’s performance as well as the focus on networking with other teams. Two-year member Evan Clark’s comment that the overall flow at CalGames was “pretty smooth,” both on the field and in the pits, was met with all around agreement. Seth Knoop, who focused mainly on photographing the event, felt that the event “was a good opportunity to gain a new supply of much needed photos” and “allowed [him] to obtain [more] experience in photography, especially for a robotics team.”

The competition also has some big implications for the future of the BreakerBots. Voicing their outlook for the team, Captain Tyler Smithtro said that “while our team is small this year, I have little doubt in my mind that each and every person will be able to accomplish amazing things over the course of their robotics careers.” As the season progresses, Smithtro hopes “that we, as a team, will be able to unleash all of [our] potential. I believe, in absolute confidence, that we can evolve into a stronger team… both through individual development and increased cooperation.”