While most students were scrambling to get ready for the last stretch of the rst quarter, LM’s ro- botics team, Dawgma, was busy with the culmination of weeks of preparation. After hours of matches, they kicked o the year with a victorious performance at the annual Ramp Riot competition with their hard work leading to high achievements.
Ramp Riot, hosted by Wissahickon High School’s robotics team, is an o -season event where teams compete in the previous year’s FIRST Robotics Com- petition (FRC) design challenge. This year, it took place on Saturday, November 4, and the task was to design and build a robot that would shoot fuel into a simulated boiler, transport gears to spin a simulated airship, and lift itself with ropes up to the airship.
Ramp Riot began as an eight-team scrimmage back in 2000. Now in its eighteenth year, this event draws 36 teams (representing up to eight states, with some teams needing to be waitlisted) and over 2,500 spectators annually.
Sponsored by organizations including
Boeing, Lockheed Martin, Johnson & John-
son, Comcast, and more, Ramp Riot is––in addition to the competition and helpful informative sessions hosted by teams––a community event. As Ramp Riot’s website reports, “Community members nd plenty of fun between matches with face painting, live local radio stations (with prizes!), robot driving zones, and even the Philly Phanatic!”
Matches consisted of two alliances competing against each other—each alliance made up of three attending teams—to score the most points. After shaking o the rust and
having rst-time drivers become more com- fortable, Dawgma succeeded through the quarter nals and semi nals, beating several formidable teams with impressive résumés. After the rst nals round didn’t go their way, LM went on to win the others go on to win Ramp Riot.
This year, Dawgma brought 27 members, with some of them scouting other teams, some in the pit (where repairs and adjustments are made), and others driving the robot. “Ramp Riot’s been a team tradition. We’ve been going every year since our team has been a team,” recalls captain Maya Levitan ’18. This twelfth year of attendance for LM (Dawgma was founded in 2005) is a memo- rable achievement, as it is the rst time Dawgma has placed rst overall at an FRC event.
“It was a very great competition—there was de nitely a lot more team spirit than usual,” Levi- tan says. Ramp Riot’s purpose is to introduce rook- ie members to the atmosphere of a FIRST compe- tition and get the teams ready for the season, and the team unity cultivated is an integral part of the
competition. Freshman Nick Lage ’21 re ects, “It was extremely exciting. I didn’t expect there to be such a large amount of people. It was really huge.” Freshman Josh Steinfeld was scouting with Lage and describes it as, “Long and grueling, but it was worth it. After, we got to go watch matches, and it was, overall, really fun.”
Dawgma is hard at work now, training new members and practicing with the robots for the FRC build season kicko in January. With this team spirit excitement, competi- tive success, and preparation, the team is ramping up for their upcoming season!