The Steel Mustangs excel in competition this year


Steve Bethke

The Steel Mustangs Robotics team poses in Houston at Worlds early this year.

Dalton Gates, Senior Reporter

The Robotics team, The Steel Mustangs (Team 2945) is a team and club run by Manitou Springs High School students and coached by Steve Bethke and a slew of other volunteers. The Robotics season is mostly during the second semester and allows the time and space for those who are interested in the idea of robotics and to try it out through their practices and competitions at both Regionals and Worlds. 

The Robotics team of MSHS has existed here since 2011, with this year’s team Captain being Madison Cavender (12). The team meets mostly during the second semester. “We meet every day from five to seven and then from about 10 to four on Saturday. And that’s from January to April,” Cavender said. “There are nights that go much later than seven o’clock; I think this season the latest I went was 10 o’clock.

The Robotics team during those days from January to April, would meet up and begin prepping for their Regionals in both Oklahoma and Denver, then later after Regionals, for Worlds in Houston. “[We] discuss what our plans are for the upcoming weeks and then we get to it,” sophomore Griffin Saulsbury (10) said. “We have to work based on CAD, and different measurements that are we can write out on cards and so kind of split up into groups to build different parts or work on different tasks.”

In early March the Robotics team headed to Oklahoma for one of their Regionals and performed surprisingly well, Gage Stout (11)  said, before heading to their next Regional in Denver doing not so great. “Denver, we can all agree, terrible,” Stout said. “We did make some changes that we thought would credibly improve it. It did not.”

Following and because of their results in their regional competitions, the Robotics team made their way to Worlds in Houston, which was a huge achievement for them. “Worlds is crazy for us, since it’s only the second time our team’s ever done it,” Stout said. “The first time they weren’t able to show up because COVID-19, then we’re there and they couldn’t compete.”

And with the Robotics year coming to a close, the team looked back on this year’s achievements and their goals as a team and club for next year. Having more focus on the marketing and business side of things, Dylan McVerry-Reese (11) said, along with keeping it on the smaller side, aiming for about 15 total members, while keeping the group heavily student-led, Stout said. 

Now that the team’s season is over for 2023, the team looks towards the future and the 2024 season and their future team line-up. If anyone has an interest in robotics and can keep their grades afloat to join the team, Saulsbury said. Along how the team and the members of the team will help each other out, and how it’s like family, McVerry-Reese said.