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The Stinger

The Stinger

Marion Center Robotics Club: A Thrilling Journey at the FIRST Robotics Competition


From March 6th to March 8th, the halls of the David L. Lawrence Convention Center echoed with the buzz of motors, the whir of gears, and the excited chatter of students from all corners of the United States. For the members of the Marion Center Robotics Club, it was a weekend filled with challenges, camaraderie, and the thrill of competition at the FIRST Robotics Competition in Pittsburgh.

The FIRST Robotics Competition is no ordinary event. Teams are tasked with designing, building, and programming a robot to compete in a unique game against other teams. This year, the game involved a complex set of tasks that required precision, strategy, and quick thinking. It was a true test of engineering prowess and teamwork.

For the students of Marion Center, this competition was the culmination of months of hard work, late nights, and endless problem-solving sessions. Coming off a stellar performance last season that earned them a spot at Worlds, the team was eager to prove themselves once again. Their robot, meticulously crafted over weeks of design iterations and building sessions, stood ready for the challenges ahead.

Over the course of three intense days, the Marion Center Robotics Club faced off against teams from across the nation. Each match was a high-stakes battle, with robots zipping across the field, scoring points, and executing intricate maneuvers. The atmosphere was electric, with cheers and applause erupting from the stands with every successful move.

However, the road to qualification was not an easy one. Despite their best efforts and a robot that performed admirably, the Marion Center team did not secure a spot at Worlds this year. Yet, this setback did little to dampen their spirits. The students knew that the true value of the competition went beyond winning; it was about learning, growing, and pushing the boundaries of their abilities.

Students Mackenzie Thomas and Risecen McGinnis speak to judges about the engineering behind their robot and the way they worked all season to complete it.

Aside from the robot matches, teams were also judged on their documentation and community outreach efforts. The Marion Center Robotics Club shone in these areas, presenting comprehensive documentation of their robot design process and showcasing their dedication to spreading STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) education in their community.


Their outreach efforts, which included hosting workshops for local students and participating in STEM events, highlighted the team’s commitment to inspiring the next generation of innovators. It was a testament to the values of FIRST Robotics — collaboration, creativity, and the belief that with determination, anything is possible.

As the competition drew to a close, the members of the Marion Center Robotics Club reflected on their journey. While they may not have qualified for Worlds this time around, they left Pittsburgh with heads held high and hearts full of pride. They knew that they had given it their all, and that in itself was a victory worth celebrating.

The FIRST Robotics Competition had once again proven to be an unforgettable experience for the Marion Center team. As they packed up their robot and gear, they left with a renewed sense of passion and a determination to return stronger next year. For these students, the journey had been challenging, exhilarating, and above all, an opportunity to discover the boundless possibilities of robotics and teamwork.

In the halls of Marion Center Area High School, the legacy of this year’s FIRST Robotics Competition will live on. It will serve as a reminder to current and future members of the Robotics Club that no matter the outcome, the true reward lies in the knowledge gained, the friendships forged, and the unshakeable spirit of innovation that defines their team.

With their eyes set on the future, the Marion Center Robotics Club stands ready to take on whatever challenges come their way. For these young innovators, the sky is truly the limit.


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About the Contributor
Mackenzie Thomas
Mackenzie Thomas, Sports and Feature Editor
“Don’t give up on the person you’re becoming”  I am Mackenzie Thomas, a junior at Marion Center Area High School. I am currently involved in Advanced Competetive Robotics, Bots IQ Robotics, FIRST Robotics, Future Business Leaders of America(FBLA), Cross Country, and Track and Field.  I am a proud member of the Newspaper staff for the fifth year. My love for journalism is flourishing as I am able to contribute to myself in a positive way. Ultimately, the Newspaper Club is giving me the opportunity to represent the school through writing and exploring events going on amongst the student body, all while contributing to my future career goal in the sports journalism field. 
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