Our team started in 2000.
Every robotics team has a past. And ours is and will continue to be a fullfilled one. Team 701 started out as a physics project by two students who are now our most prestigious alumni. This was back in the year 2000. 20 years of experience is a lot for one team, and we will continue to go strong. Take a scroll down memory lane and view the RoboVikes' history.
Our team began in 2000 when Russell Quintero and Jason McMillan were in Mr. Green's physics class. Mr. Green assigns his physics students to complete a project every year and these two alumni decided that they would participate in a robotics competiton. They led a team of ten students and started FIRST FRC Team 701. Even for their first time, they were able to build a competitive robot and rank high at the Los Angeles regional competition. They became semi-finalists taking home third place.
Our 2003 year brought in alot of freshmen and alot of seniors. We built a unique robot that resembled a scorpion. Hence, the robot name X-scorpion. We also attended the FIRST International Championship for the first time. We ranked 21st (out of 73 teams) in the Galileo Division and had the 3rd highest rank by a California team (out of 293 teams).
"Foremost my team 701 experience gave me an outlet for what my math classes were teaching me. Students would complain about why we need to know math, and I found out why. Building that robot took some strong geometric knowledge as well as math for motor gearing, speed, and torque. Much of what I did in FIRST was a precursor to my college career at Cal Poly. Whenever I am taking a design class I think about how techniques I am learning about could have easily been taught at the high school level...although not in a classroom, instead it would have been taught by FIRST Robotics." -Jerad Ellenberger (Vanden Alumni '03)
After our seniors from the last year left, we had new members enter and we understood how robotics competitions worked. We competed at the Silicon Valley regional and Los Angeles regional competitions. We did well at the Silicon Valley regional placing as finalists. The Los Angeles regional was the complete opposite. We also gained more recognition, because at the time, we were the only robotics team in Solano County.
In 2004, our team did not change as much member-wise but we continued to bring more students into our family. Our robot was smaller than X-corpion but its size fared well at competiton. Its simple PVC arm was light enough to hold itself onto the bar in the game FIRST Frenzy. We attended the Silicon Valley regional and our first local regional, which was in Sacramento: UC-Davis.
"As an ERAU Certified Flight Instructor I have completely realized what an after school program like Vanden Robotics can do for students learning about the physical world. Applying the principles learned in class in an enthusiastic manner creates some of the best learning imaginable. Vanden Robotics helped me immensely when I began learning about aircraft systems, aerodynamics and aircraft performance. The robotics team helped me become a better pilot." -Walter Johansen (Vanden Alumni '04)
In 2005, we expanded our team size and became involved with the community more than ever. We did an interview with UPN 31 at the Sacramento regional. We also conducted presentations at Golden West Middle School, with the intent on recruiting more RoboVikes.
In 2006, our freshmen from 2003 became experienced seniors and we had a new batch of freshmen join. This was also the first year that our robotics club became a class. We attended the Portland regional and Sacramento regional competitions, doing well in both.
"FIRST has given me a detailed understanding of technology that affects the way I think problem solve. I'm especially glad that FIRST has created opportunities for me to give something back by volunteering." -Alex Ellenberger (Vanden Alumni '06)
"Being a participant in FIRST robotics has had an immense impact on my life. It solidified my devotion to pursuing the field of science and technology while teaching me principles that I still apply today when conducting real world research in artificial intelligence and robotics. FIRST taught me how to approach and analyze difficult problems, manage limited resources and work with people in a group -- skills which I apply not only to my work but to life in general." -Salik Syed (Vanden Alumni '06)
After 2006, we had all our experienced seniors leave, leaving sophomores that only had one year's worth of experience and an army of freshmen. Mr. Green had to teach us the basics and divided our class to meet on certain days. (Freshman met on certain days, sophomores met on certain days, we all met on Fridays for debriefing). The schedule did work. By the time it was build season, we all came together as one team and built a remarkably fast and competitive robot. We attended the Bayou regional competition and became semi-finalists. At Sacramento, we were finalists. For a veteran team with rookie members, we did pretty well.
In the 2007-08 school year, our robotics class recieved many gifts. We were sponsored by the Solano County Regional Occupational Program, who gave us classroom laptops and other supplies. We repainted and refurnished our workshop. We had many new members join from freshmen to seniors. We started two FIRST LEGO League teams in Foxboro Elementary School and the Vacaville Boys and Girls Club. Our robot's name was Jotunn and was ready for competiton as we headed out to San Diego, Sacramento, and the FIRST Championships in Atlanta. We were semi-finalists in San Diego, quarterfinalists at Sacramento, and ranked well at the Archimedes Division in Atlanta. We were semi-finalists at the 2008 Cal Games and won the Best Hybrid Award.
When we came back to school in 2008, our team was ready with a plan for improvement. Our Leadership Committee was formed, along with regular committees. We trained newcomers with workshops in CNC, Inventor, Electrical Basics, and Shop Basics. By the time Lunacy was introduced 6 weeks later, our team was ready. Although we spent most of our time prototyping, we took to building our robot in stride. We were sure to make sure each measurement and each system worked to its best. We participated in the Boston regional competition, taking home the Entrepreneurship and Website Awards. We also participated in the Sacramento competition and won the Judges' Award. We were ranked as semi-finalists for both regionals.
So it is finally our tenth year! We chugged along through this build season with high optimisim and a greater plan for success. Our team is evenly divided into rookies and veterans, but that does not prevent us from working with each other. We distinctly place ourselves in six major committees: Mechanical, Electrical, Animation, DS Programming, LabView Programming, and Inventor. We are planning on participating in the Washington D.C. regional and San Jose regional competitions.