Full Steam Ahead for Team 2996

Cougars Gone Wired Enters a New Season

Full Steam Ahead for Team 2996

Spencer Stepp, Co Editor-in-Chief

There are a lot of things that Coronado High School has been known for over the years. Whether it be a state championship football team, a competitive tennis team, or a consistently successful cross-country program, there has always been something that has drawn the attention of people in and outside of the Colorado Springs area. These titles come and go, but one program has remained in the spotlight since its establishment in 2009. This program is, of course, the Cougars Gone Wired FIRST Robotics Team.
Cougars Gone Wired (or Team 2996) has been the district robotics program for over two decades now, but many still don’t know exactly what this program entails. On the surface, it seems simple: A bunch of kids get together and build a robot, but it goes much, much deeper than this. From the unique structure of competitions to the complexity of the team, to the community and atmosphere surrounding it all, Team 2996 is one of the most unique programs that Coronado has to offer.
When someone mentions the words “robotics competition,” there is one image that comes to mind for a lot of people: Sparks flying as small robots beat one another to a pulp, and for a lot of people, this is what they believe a robotics team does. The truth could not be further from this though, as the competitions are about skill, precision, and teamwork. Unlike other competitions, in robotics, an alliance-based system is used. Teams work together to move forward in competition, but the alliances change intermittently, encouraging teams to be kind and supportive of one another throughout the duration of the competition.
As for the competition itself, teams are presented with a new challenge each year, prompting the creation of a new robot that is specifically equipped to overcome those challenges. The robot used during the most recent season (lovingly named GO-4 after the police robot in WALL-E) was designed to do two primary things: pick up and launch foam balls into one of two targets and use a hook mechanism to climb up three bars of increasing height.
GO-4 performed its duties exceptionally well at Coronado’s home scrimmage (Image 1) and at the regionals in both Denver and in Oklahoma City (Image 2). However, more than just making a hyper-specific robot, there’s a whole lot that goes on behind the scenes as well. Because every team is presented with the same challenges, every team must be able to practice and compete in an exactly proportional setting. Thus, every year, Team 2996 builds a perfect replica of the course, which when set up, practically fills the entire aux gym (Image 3).
To do this, the team needs materials, specifically wood. Wood isn’t cheap nowadays, so the team relies heavily on sponsors. These sponsors help with anything from fabrication of parts to course design and are the backbone of the team. This is just a small taste of the complexity and layers that makes up the team. Every aspect of this process is controlled by the team members, and to do this, everyone is put into sub-teams in which they have a very specific role to play.
From CEO to Vice President of Special Projects to Vice President of Media and Marketing, every person on the team has a role to play and they play it almost to perfection. Team 2996 is a well-oiled machine (pun very much intended), and this is what enables them to produce at the high lee they do. Additionally, the team is a very tight knit community with its roots running deep in the spirit of competition and companionship.
Aimee Wright, Senior and Vice President of Mobility commented on her years of robotics experience: “being on the team is a dream come true for me…not only do I get to lead my own sub-team this year, but I also get to spend every day surrounded by my best friends. I can’t wait for what this season will bring”
The Robotics Team is possibly one of the most welcoming communities in the entire school, and for anyone that is interested, the team meets in room 407 every Wednesday from 6:00 to 8:00 up until build season starts. After this, meetings are every day from 5:00 to 8:00. For those that might want to join, Vice President of Special Projects, Evan Reeves has some parting words of wisdom:
“Robotics is a great environment for anybody and everybody that joins the team. We think of each other as a family, [and] we really are a family. You don’t even need to know anything about robotics to join, and nobody will put you down for not knowing something. This team is my family, and I am so happy to be a part of it.”

Find Cougars Gone Wired On Instagram, Youtube, or their website:
Instagram: @cougarsgonewired
Youtube: CougarsGoneWired
Website: Team2996.com

(1) Cougars Gone Wired Home Scrimmage Last Season
(2) GO-4 Tackles an Obstacle at Regionals
(Image 3) The Practice Course Being Set Up in The Aux Gym