Success For The Hammerheads! 

Troy High School Hammerheads bring home four top robotics awards.

The Troy High School Robotics team, the Hammerheads, took home top awards at the FIRST Robotics Michigan State Championship at Saginaw State University in early April 2023. These awards recognized the team’s advanced technical knowledge and expertise as well as their ongoing commitment to promote the FIRST mission and build community awareness of the benefits of science, technology, engineering and mathematics. 

The Hammerheads were the Consumers Energy Field Division Champions. Senior Akul Gunukula, president of the 81-member Hammerheads, described the structure of this first part of the competition, “There are 160 teams split into four divisions equaling 40 teams per division.” He added, “Us and two other teams formed an alliance which ended up winning that division.” This win was the first time the Hammerheads’ robot won a division championship at the Michigan State Championship.

Gunukala and his fellow Hammerheads went on to the inter-division playoffs where the four divisional champions battled it out to win top honors. The Hammerheads were recognized with the Michigan State Championship’s Finalist award. Their alliance came in second overall.

The Hammerheads also won the award that FIRST references as “their most prestigious award,” the State Championship IMPACT award, previously known as the Chairman’s Award. The IMPACT award recognizes teams who embody the FIRST mission: to transform our world through the use and celebration of science and technology. FIRST looks for more than robot development and construction. It evaluates candidates on their work to engage and impact the broader community to positively promote and encourage science and technology use and exploration. While teams have to meet the eligibility requirements for the robot in a given competition season, this recognition strives to honor teams who model the FIRST ideals that the competition is “not about machines; it is about the experience of people working together toward a shared goal.” This marks the fourth time in five years that the Hammerheads have won this award at the Michigan State Championships.

Junior Mahima Mahajan was also recognized as a Dean’s List Finalist. This award honors current high school student leaders who show dedication, ongoing commitment and initiative to promote FIRST and its mission through community outreach and advanced technological expertise and knowledge. “It felt very great. There was a lot of pressure because our team has a streak going of people winning and I was really glad I won and that all my efforts were being recognized.” Mahajan now faces off against other high schools students for the Dean’s List Winner award. 

Next, the Hammerheads went to Houston, Texas to compete at FIRST World Championship, on April 19th to April 22nd putting their robot against the top teams from across the globe. Gunukula said, “It is an honor to be able to compete among the best of the best.”