Hightstown High School’s Team Mercury is a dedicated group of students interested in science, engineering, mechanics, computers, technology, and a plethora of other disciplines. With the help of our gracious sponsors, mentors, coaches, and parents, Team Mercury is annually able to compete in the international FIRST Robotics Competition.
The 2014 season proved to be a great year for Team Mercury. The 2014 robot “Mammoth” was capable of fulfilling any role the alliance needed ranging from in-bounding to scoring. Team Mercury earned the Finalist and Excellence in Engineering Award at the Bridgewater-Raritan District Competition. We advanced onto the MAR Championships were we had a 10-2-0 record, allowing us to take the fifth seed. After a few intense elimination rounds, we were defeated in the Finals to the first alliance. At MAR we also won the Xerox Creativity Award. All of these achievements allowed us to seed 5th place in the entire Mid Atlantic Region which allowed us to qualify for the FIRST World Championships in St. Louis Missouri. Our competition season came to an end after we seeded 16th out of 100 in the Archimedes Division at World Champs.
This season of “Ultimate Ascent” proved to be exciting and full of unexpected successes. Our first goal was to shoot as many flying discs through the highest goals as possible. The challenge of climbing the pyramid seemed to be a secondary priority. It was then a simpler solution than we realized at first, by adding two hooks we were able to hang onto the first level and help our alliance to victory. Lehigh University was a great site for our MAR Regional and turned out to be a great weekend. We played well and had fun. Our team, mentors and coaches were able to help other teams succeed as well. There was a robot that lost a major part of their machine and with our help we were able to get them to ascend to success as well.
During the 2012 season, Team Mercury celebrated their 10th anniversary as a FIRST Robotics Team! This year’s game was named “Rebound Rumble”, a game very similar to basketball except the fact that robots had to be designed to shoot multiple basketballs into four hoops located at the ends of the field. At the first competition, our robot Marauder, was in the process of being fixed, but we were still selected by the number 6 team in the finals. At our next competition, the team met with success as they placed 1st seed at the Lenape-Seneca District event! This streak of success continued when the team placed 3rd at the Mid Atlantic Robotics Regional Competition. Overall, the team made huge improvements and paved the way for next year’s leaders to build upon their success.
The 2011 season was very productive in all areas of team development. Community involvement increased, as well as funding from other companies than Bristol-Myers Squibb. The 2010 robot was very successful at off-season competitions finished as a finalist at the annual Duel on the Delaware competition. The team maintained its spirit and yet again, 1089 received spirit awards at Duel on the Delaware and Brunswick Eruption. Finally, FLL mentorship was an integral part of the season by making a video tutorial series about how to be a successful team.
The 2010 season was off to a slow start when the team’s membership and funding greatly decreased. However, Team Mercury combated these disadvantages by implementing a new “team board” system, which selected three students to lead the team, in addition to restructuring the committee system. This allowed more team members to get involved and grow technically through our new FTC team. This year, FIRST selected Team Mercury to beta test the 2010 Control System in Java. Finally, the team had a lot of spirit, as shown by its winning of spirit awards at both Duel on the Delaware and Brunswick Eruption.
The year included a fully-student designed and driven robot design. Utilizing Autodesk Inventor students and mentors devised a solution for climbing over the field bump by adding a raised axle in the center of our robot. By using a spring-loaded cam system kicking mechanism to shoot soccer balls, the robot, Atlas, was very successful at competitions. It was an integral part of the “Exploding Thermometer” Alliance at the New Jersey Regional, as 1089 teamed up with Teams 223 (X-Treme Heat) and 1279 (Cold Fusion). The season was largely successful and team members gained valuable knowledge about teamwork, leadership, and dedication.
The 2009 season began with winning Duel on the Delaware, hosted by teams 365, The Miracle Workerz, and 316, The Lunatecs, with our 2008 robot, Apollo and the spirit award at Brunswick Eruption, hosted by Team 25, Raider Robotix. After a six week long workshop series based on the 2004 game and build season process, new members were excited about the 2009 game, Lunacy.
The 2009 robot, Apollo II, can lift orbit balls off the regolith and shot them into the opposing robot’s trailer via an Archimedes screw.1089 won the 2009 New Jersey Regional Chairman’s Award for their hard work throughout the past few years. The team also won the Best Website and Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers Entrepreneurship Awards at the Philadelphia Regional, and finished as quarter-finalists. Despite unforeseen robot malfunctions, the team remained spirited throughout the competitions. The team went on to win a Judges’ Award at Monty Madness.
The 2008 season was off to a great start when Team Mercury began to hold its own set of weekly workshops to teach new members the value of teamwork and gracious professionalism, as well as the various parts of the robot. Team 1089 invited Team Nemesis, 2590, to these meetings to help organize an FRC Team in Robbinsville.
In addition to having a strategic edge for build season from pre-season workshops, 1089 was designed a fully function robot for the 2008 game, FIRST Overdrive, able to hurdle trackballs and place the ball on top of the overpass at the end of each round. Though valuable seniors graduated, their efforts were not forgotten when many rising sophomores took over their project groups during the summer, beginning with attempting to host an FRC event with Team 25.
Team Mercury began the 2007 build season like any other, drawing up possible robot designs and thinking about the game in various ways. This process ended with the creation of a robot that successfully competed in the 2007 game, Rack ‘n’ Roll, by placing tubes on the rack at all three levels due to strategic programming.
Additionally, the team submitted for the Chairman’s Award and were successful in delivering a strong presentation. 1089 also tried to start an FLL team at the local middle school, but failed due to a lack of support. The team’s successes inspired many freshmen the following season to commit themselves to the ideals of FIRST and thus this was a very successful season.
As the end of the 2005 season closed, Team Mercury objectively analyzed their strengths and weaknesses to improve team organization. As a result, a committee system was established and a chairperson led each committee. These committees were set up to create a focused working environment but overall became unsuccessful due to a lack of leadership. Though these odds were stacked against them, Team Mercury was able to claim the 2006 Best Website Award and Johnson & Johnson Sportsmanship Award at the New Jersey Regional!
The year’s robot, “Silver Lightning”, was successful at shooting balls and scoring during the Aim High season. This robot went on to win Monty Madness, an off-season event hosted by Team 1403, Cougar Robotics. In addition, 1089 assisted in starting multiple teams in the surrounding communities and even attempted to host an FLL scrimmage to promote involvement in the FIRST program to team members and the community at large.
The 2005 season brought out new and tremendous changes for both Team Mercury and their knowledge of robot building. This was the first year that the team submitted for the Chairman’s Award, at the New Jersey Regional, and the team increased its focus and organization. Finally, 1089 started Team 1807, and created a strong partnership with the local high school.
The team created and developed a theme in reference to Mercury, the Roman God, and chose to name the 2005 robot, “The Messenger”. Designed primarily by students, the robot played defense and capped tetrahedrons (called tetras) on large pyramid-shaped goals. The team finished again as quarter-finalists at the New Jersey Regional and continued on to the Championship Event in Atlanta, Georgia. There, competing against 85 teams in the Galileo Division, 1089 finished undefeated and ranked first seed.
The 2004 season led to the creation of a very speedy robot, named Quicksilver++. Built to hang from a 10’ pole, the robot was successful at many competitions throughout the season. The team and their robot competed at the New Jersey Regional in Trenton, New Jersey and the Chesapeake Regional in Annapolis, Maryland.
Even through many cabling difficulties with its mechanical arm, the team successfully managed to push their way through FIRST Frenzy: Raising the Bar, the 2004 Competition, finishing as quarter-finalists at the New Jersey Regional. They went on to compete in off-season events, and won Frenzy Finale at Bridgewater-RaritanHigh School allied with Team 19 (Staten Island) and Team 25 (Raider Robotix).
As a rookie team in 2003, HHS Robotics was quickly renamed “Team Mercury,” both in reference to the NASA space team and the silver lacquer of the metals used for robot construction. After determining team colors to be black and silver, FIRST assigned Team Mercury a competition number, 1089. This made 1089 unique and identifiable.
The 2003 robot, aptly named, “Quicksilver,” was a nickname for mercury itself. During the Stack Attack Game, Quicksilver could stack boxes, deploy wings to knock down stacks, and was extremely strong, as it was able to dominate the field in most of its rounds. The robot spent most rounds pushing other teams around and Team Mercury finished as semi-finalists at the Johnson & Johnson Mid-Atlantic Regional in New Brunswick, New Jersey.