Behind the glory of Dulaney’s Team 1727

Takara Wilson, Staff Writer

Dulaney’s Robotics team is one of the most decorated teams in the school, the goal of making it to the World Championships. 

With three different league teams – VEX Robotics, FIRST Robotics and Bell AVR Drone – Dulaney offers a variety of competition. The one year season of VEX Robotics and four to five month season FIRST Robotics, results in long hours of perfecting the robot. Tournament Team Captain of FRC Bhargav Srinivasan, a current senior who started robotics in fourth grade, tells all. 

“For VEX we have practices until five…I spend maybe three hours on the weekend. For FRC we go everyday until five to seven so it’s a lot of work,” says Srinivasan. 

He emphasizes that problem solving skills along with different skill sets are necessary to succeed as a team. Their goal when building a robot is creating one that is efficient yet also looks clean. Balancing this may be one of the hardest parts of the job. Learning how to manage others and himself helps hone his leadership skills.

Their faculty advisory, Patrick Dougherty, is the backbone of the team. As a 2011 alum of Dulaney High School who majored in astronautical engineering and now teaches Introduction of Engineering Design and Digital Electronics, Dougherty has spent years with this team. Starting robotics as a sophomore, competing in the World Championships as a senior, and serving as a mentor for 15 years during and post college, he has been given the title of “The TopHat Guy,” known as an iconic figure in Maryland’s VEX Robotics scene.

“When I was a student, 1727 REX had a reputation for no matter what competition we went to we wore these crazy hats,” says Dougherty. 

Dougherty continues the tradition by wearing his tophat to all competitions and is a well-known character on the robotics scene.

In addition to team advisor, Dougherty is the site contact for all DHS hosted competitions, where he communicates with other event partners and organizes volunteer work. To those interested but hesitant in joining the Robotics Team, Dougherty offers a message. 

“You’re not going to be expected to know anything and everything right away…While that seems daunting at first, you don’t need to be good at all of it; You need to find your own niche and practice it to make it your advantage for the team you’re competing with,” says Dougherty. 

The Robotics Team is incredibly experienced in what they do and encourages growth as individuals and a collective. Deserving more school-wide recognition, their trophies decorate an entire back wall in Dougherty’s room, proving their capabilities. Looking forward to this year’s season, the team and fans are hoping for the best result, similar to December 3rd’s sweep at Hereford Stampede with five awards won by 1727 VEX. Using their experience from last year – their first year of FRC – to improve and qualify for the FRC World Championships, and making a better and bigger team for VEX to enhance the strong results last year where one team ranked fourth in their division at the VEX World Championships, the team is shooting for the Dome –  the eight best teams in the world.