Freshmen Preview Their Role On SCH’s Robotics Team 1218

Jack Gaghan

Freshmen Danny O’Connor and Mason Mower know taking a backseat approach is the key to success on SCH’s world champion robotics team.

Rather than making adjustments in the pits, O’Connor found himself far away from robot 1218 in the fall scrimmage over November 4th and 5th. Instead, he sat in the bleachers with the spectators as he recorded notes on other team’s successes and failures. During the duration of the competition, O’Connor recorded data on fifty-three of sixty total qualification matches. Despite the heavy workload, he was not deterred.  

“I want to learn how everything works so that next year, I can actually do stuff,” said O’Connor. “It’s fun though because you get to watch the competitions.”

Sophomore Ryan Comisky knows plenty about following directions from upperclassmen. A freshman last year, Comisky spent most of his time shadowing older members on team 1218.  Now as the captain of the sophomores, Comisky believes his hands-off approach paid off in the past.

“Honestly I just shadowed juniors and seniors,” said Comisky. “So anytime they did something, I followed them around until they asked for a tool because it is a really easy way to learn where everything is and to learn what the heck is going on.”

O’Connor and Comisky both noted the difference between upperclassmen mentorship and leadership provided by their faculty advisors, James Martin and Peter Randall.  Although world champion robotics professionals, Martin and Randall like their students to find answers on their own and hope they will learn from their mistakes. During competitions, teams are allowed to send coaches behind the field, but 1218 always sends a student instead.

“I find Upperclassmen more as mentors and Mr. Randall and Mr. Martin more as databases,” said O’Connor. “The seniors are more hands-on and will walk you through things and let you follow them around whereas Mr. Martin and Mr. Randall will be like ‘this is what needs to be accomplished, how do you guys think we should do it.’”

Comisky felt the fall scrimmage was an excellent learning experience for the freshmen. He knows the robotics season is a menacing gauntlet once it starts, describing the robotics lab as a “heavenous hell.” 

“I feel like this was a good opportunity for the freshmen,” said Comisky. “They start to learn what the heck is going on with scouting and how FRC events work and how field faults work.”

On the note of dedication, freshmen Mason Mower was not shy about expressing all he does for the team. He feels he learns by teaching. Often you will find Mower mentoring the younger robotics groups, FLL and FTC, late into the afternoon. As do many of the robotics members, Mower uses his fall sports credit for robotics. 

“I do a lot of hours,” said Mower. “I think I’m required to do four. But I do a lot more than that”

O’Connor is setting the bar high for himself this year. He wants his contributions to be seen by upperclassmen, Peter Randall, and James Martin. As seen by Comisky’s successes in his second year, O’Connor knows his freshman year is an important building block for the future.  In April 2020, O’Connor hopes to find himself as one of the freshmen that makes the trip to the world championship.


“I want to go to worlds as a freshman because I know they can only take a limited amount of people, and most of the spots are filled by upperclassmen,” said O’Connor. “Seniors, juniors, and sophomores automatically get to go, but I want to be a freshman that goes.”