It was recently announced that CMHS team “Mesa’s Angels” won the San Diego Chargers’ Stem on the Sidelines challenge for 2020. The team, made up of juniors Sophia Catania, Lizbeth Gama, and Lucero Islas, was tasked with designing and building a football launcher that could throw passes at targets like a quarterback would to his receivers in a football game. They competed in the same contest in 2019, getting second place. Undeterred, they returned this year and emerged victorious. 

Due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, the event was held differently than previous years in which teams competed in-person at the same location. Instead, teams had to submit a video detailing their design and build process, and then of course showing their machine throwing footballs at the targets. 

The pandemic brought its fair share of difficulties in actually building the launcher as well, though Catania felt it also had some silver linings. When asked, she stated that, “Although the pandemic was a challenge while working on our project, on the other hand it made our team dynamic stronger and made us more resourceful. We especially learned the value of communication and how important it was to constantly maintain each other updated as we weren’t able to meet in person as much as we had in previous years”

The Mesa’s Angels’ video was great from the opening moment, playing “Seven Nation Army” and its legendary bass guitar riff over their introductions. They then described how they designed the plays they ran, the targets, the robots that moved the targets, and the launcher, as well as what improvements they made from the previous year and what improvements they would like to make in the future. The video concluded by showing off the launcher in action, nailing the targets with a perfect spiral.

“We were proud to represent Mesa in the competition and to be able to bring home a win!” says Catania.