Team History

Want to view the official records and statistics of 5985? Check out the team’s page at The Blue Alliance for full details.












5985 Season Details…


 2024 – Crescendo

We’re not entirely sure we’re ever going to be able to top this one…

“Crescendo” was an experience that saw 5985 reach levels that we are honestly may never truly come to grips with. For the second time, the team started the season with the knowledge they had already pre-qualified for the FIRST Championships in Houston – but this time it was an Impact Finalists, one of the top 6 teams in the world for STEM Education, outreach, and positive community change. This was a BIG deal for our community team from Wollongong.

This return trip to Houston would again feature a side-trek to California – this time to the East Bay Regional in Berkeley. Once again the team would be on the home turf of the best teams in the world, and get an extra shot at the Regional Impact Award – an essential requirement if the team was to make another attempt at the Championship Impact Award.

“Crescendo” was a multi-layered game, with several strategic design paths that drastically change the final robot functions. At the same time, 5985 did a complete overhaul of their design process and finally were able to implement a much-needed feature: Swerve Drive! (The team had spent the last 18 months becoming familiar with this technology).


The 2024 robot was named “Lupus” (The Hare). Design-wise, it was the best robot the team had ever made, however we suffered from programming issues at the Southern Cross Regional which affected robot accuracy. It didn’t affect our driving, and we were chosen as a defensive robot by Alliance #1 – and turned in a performance F.U.N. called “an impenetrable defence”. Alliance #1 (captained by 4613 Barker Redbacks) went on to claim the Regional Winners banner, the teams cheering until the final buzzer!

Then things got REALLY crazy.

In addition to this outstanding result, 5985 took home the Volunteers of the Year Award, a Dean’s List Finalist Award – and then the Regional Impact Award! This was an unprecedented haul that left the students amazed and the Awards team stunned (and in tears). Taking home the top two Awards at a Regional is insane on its own, but adding the extras added a layer of surreal that took everyone a long time to come to grips with.

The Southern Cross results gave the team a level of confidence that powered their way to the East Bay Regional – once again, with the robot carried in suitcases. Lepus was assembled in record time and ready for a new game. The competition was even tougher than last time, but the robot turned in a much stronger performance, with 5985 being considered by several teams for a Playoff Alliance. Getting to play in the finals was an epic experience! The team was able to re-connect with many friends and made even stronger connections with the local teams. Once again, the Awards ceremony finished in triumph, with 5985 receiving the Regional Engineering Inspiration Award! Already holders of an Impact Award, this was the highest award available to 5985 – and the celebrations of the Awards team went for a long time!

Wining EI at East Bay meant that 5985 had qualified for the Championships no less that 4 times in the 2024 season!

Thanks to the generosity of 1678 (Citrus Circuits), 5985 was able to spend several hours in their workshop – improving, testing, and repairing Lepus. This was also an opportunity for the 1678 and 5985 Awards teams, as both were Impact candidates at Houston. The teams spent time presenting to each other and drilling on questions. Both teams were ready!

Then it was time for the Championships.

The FIRST Championships were four days of music, exhilaration and exhaustion – sometimes over 12 hours were spent in the building alongside 600 other FRC teams. 5985 ended up in the Newton Division, finishing 65th out of 75 in an incredibly tough division, but turning in another reliable robot performance. The Awards team were also on deck, taking home an incredibly strong Impact presentation and playing host to a stream of Pit Judges.

And then, around 7:00 am on the last day of the Championships, another screaming cheer was heard from 5985 – once again named Impact Finalists! The rest of the day was spent in a flurry of anticipation and visits from interested teams. This time the final award went to a well-deserving 2486 (CocoNuts) – but 5985 being back-to-back Finalists has earned a LOT of attention for our team.

The 5985 Awards team has turned in a spectacular performance for 2024, and the team as a whole is ready to make 202 even better!

As Impact Finalists, 5985 has pre-qualified for the 2025 Championships. We’ll see you in Houston!

  • Woodie Flowers (Championship): Andrew Clark
  • Woodie Flowers: Luin Mulvihill
  • Dean’s List #1: Lily Norington
  • Dean’s List #2: Gabi Fisher
Event Year Location Award/Result
Southern Cross Regional 2024 Sydney Dean’s List Finalist (Lily Norington)
Volunteers of the Year (Lyndell and Andrew Clark)
Regional Winners (2nd Pick of Alliance #1)
Regional FIRST Impact Award
East Bay Regional 2024 Berkeley Regional Engineering Inspiration Award
  2nd Pick of Alliance #3 (Eliminated in Playoff Match #9)
FIRST Championships 2024 Houston, Texas FIRST Impact Award Finalist


 2023 – Charged Up

It was a wild ride…

“Charged Up” was definitely a different season. Chief among the differences was the fact that 5985 had pre-qualified for the FIRST Championships in Houston, Texas. For the first time, the team had knowledge that they would be travelling to the USA with more than three weeks to plan the trip! As a result, the team got ambitious: we would fly to Texas for the Championships – but would stop in California to attend the Silicon Valley Regional on the way!

SVR is the home turf of some of the top teams in the USA. 5985 was under no illusions that our robot would do well here – however, the experience would be incredibly educational! Additionally, this would give the team an extra shot at the Impact Award, as Australia was still only running a single Regional.

“Charged Up” was a deceptive game – simple enough on the surface, but complex in the details. The team had learned from the previous season and attempted to adjust schedule and tactics during the Build Season. This saw mixed results, with several bottlenecks that will be avoided next time. The 2023 season also saw a record number of teams in the workshop:  7583 (The Embers), 8844 (Flamethrowers) and 9145 (Equinox). Just to make things interesting, the workshop also hosted teams from Western Australia, Singapore, and Chinese Tapei in the leadup to the Regional!

The robot, dubbed Grus, turned in a stable, reliable performance without needing major repair at the Southern Cross Regional. It didn’t score as highly as we wanted, but after the rough 2022 season, it was an improvement! 5985 received a Dean’s List Award and the Judges Award at this Regional, with the Impact Award going to our friends Can’t Control (4788) from Western Australia. 5985 was definitely grateful for a second shot at Impact at SVR!

Competing in SVR was eye-opening. Just getting there was an exercise, with the robot being transported in suitcases. Thanks to the support of 971 we had workshop time to reassemble Grus – able to finish off the exercise at the Regional itself. The competition was a tough as we expected, but the students made new alliances and friends as we were able to get up close to some of the top teams in the world. The Awards ceremony finished in triumph, with 5985 receiving the Impact Award! The celebration lasted a long time – then started the preparations for Houston.

The FIRST Championships were big, loud, exhilarating and exhausting. Nearly 700 FRC teams were competing. 5985 ended up in the Galileo Division, finishing 55th out of 80 with another stable, reliable performance. However, the best was yet to come – the team reacting with stunned disbelief when 5985 was named one of the six Impact Finalists! The final award went to the RoboLancers (321) but this was a spectacular result, recognising the hard work of the entire team, and a special performance by the Award team!

The best part? As Impact Finalists, 5985 has again pre-qualified for the 2024 Championships!

  • Woodie Flowers (Championship): Andrew Clark
  • Woodie Flowers: Dave Hinde
  • Dean’s List #1: Lily Norington
  • Dean’s List #2: William Dolan
Event Year Location Award/Result
Southern Cross Regional 2023 Wollongong Dean’s List Finalist (William Dolan)
2nd Pick of Alliance 8. Eliminated in Playoff Match #10
Judges Award
 Silicon Valley Regional 2023 San Jose Regional Impact Award
FIRST Championships 2023 Houston, Texas Impact Award Finalist

 2022 – Rapid React

We’re Back!!!

“Rapid React” was the first official in-person season since 2019 – for many of 5985, it was the first in-person season EVER! COVID-19 was still an issue, disrupting much of the pre-season training, and there were definitely some rough spots as the team meet the challenges of the new Season. The workshop continued to host 5985 as well as  7583 (The Embers) and 6035 (House of Ulladulla).

There were some additional successes during the season – the creation of 8844 (The Flamethrowers) and the opportunity to host the Southern Cross Regional in Wollongong!

The robot, dubbed Pegasus, performed well at the workshop and in practice – but several falls during the Regional caused a great deal of damage. As a result, the Pit Crew and Drivers were struggling and frustrated as they worked incredible hours to keep the robot going (including a full drive-base replacement). Whilst they definitely felt the robot didn’t achieve its potential, everyone just kept working, earning admiration from those that were watching.

Taking home the Regional Chairman’s Award on our home turf definitely made things feel better!

The trip to Houston was itself an adventure – navigating COVID restrictions was complicated, and a few team members and mentors had to pull out of the trip at the last minute! Once we arrived, some additional falls impacted performance drastically. However, the Awards team was firing on all thrusters, pulling off a superb Chairman’s session and engaging Judges at the pit. This gave another tremendous success – the Engineering Inspiration Award, our first International FRC trophy!

The 2022 off season was spent building temporary robots for off-season events and travelling to Melbourne for the inaugural MRT event. Armed with lessons learned and a list of positive changes, we’re ready for 2023!

  • Woodie Flowers (Championship): Michael Heimlich
  • Woodie Flowers: Isaac Clark
  • Dean’s List #1: Adam Savage
  • Dean’s List #2: Liz Crowe
Event Year Location Award/Result
Southern Cross Regional 2022 Wollongong Reached Semi Finals
Regional Chairman’s Award
  Volunteer of the Year (Andrew and Lyndell Clark)
FIRST Championships 2022 Houston, Texas Engineering Inspiration Award (Turing Division)


 2021 – Infinite Recharge (Take #2)

5985’s 6th year of competition was…interesting.

With COVID still locking things down, FIRST decided to run the entire 2021 season remotely – keeping Infinite Recharge as the game to be played. This required 5985 to the team worked through robot development for remote challenges, remote meetings, and the continuation of normal Awards – plus a slew of new options! These included Game Design and Innovation Challenge.

The team took up all options with vigor, and ended up having an incredibly successful year. In an incredible result for the Awards team, 5985 received an award in each Challenge in which they took part – culminating in a Regional Chairman’s Award!

The highlight of the year was undoubtedly being able to actually play at in-person events (albeit unofficial and with limits on attendance)!

Bring on 2022!

  • Woodie Flowers: Graham Crowe
  • Dean’s List #1: Faith Clark
  • Dean’s List #2: Liz Crowe
Event Year Location Award/Result
Southern Pacific (Unofficial) 2021 Macquarie University Winner
Southern Cross (Unofficial) 2021 Macquarie University Finalist
Pacific Region Awards Event 2021 Remote Regional Chairman’s Award
Game Design Challenge (Carbon Group) 2021 Remote Engineering Design Award
Infinite Recharge @ Home (Helium Group) 2021 Remote Quality Award
FIRST Innovation Challenge (Beryllium Group) 2021 Remote Semi-Finalist Award


 2020 – Infinite Recharge

The 5th year of competition for FRC Team 5985 was a roller-coaster!

A mere 15 days before Kick-off, TAFE NSW agreed to host the 5985 workshop in “Building X” – a former reception hall, turned childcare centre, then abandoned for several years. This was a fantastic opportunity, and the team set to work (deep) cleaning, moving, and setting up our first dedicated workshop! After a LOT of hard work, the team was able to watch Kick-Off from their space – joined by our friends from 7583 who we invited to share the space when they lost access to their own workshop. After a re-organisation or two, we even found the space for a full FRC field!

This all took place with a background of devastating bushfires and floods – not to mention the emergence of the COVID-19 Pandemic.

The season was looking to be fantastic – with great strides taking place in all aspects of FRC experience, from mechanical to outreach. Ironically, we were in the middle of hosting our first FRC scrimmage (a week out from competition) when the news came through that FRC was cancelled due to the pandemic.

We kept the lights on, and set plans in motion to ride out the lock-downs and make the most of the opportunities we had. Of course, the entire team attended the virtual awards show from different houses – and were on hand to watch the results of the Awards Team’s hard work as the earned another Regional Chairman’s Award, Woodie Flowers Award, and Dean’s List Semi-finalist!

5985 finished the season on a high, committed to returning for 2021.

  • Woodie Flowers: Lyndell Clark
  • Dean’s List #1: Sarah Eckert
  • Dean’s List #2: Andre Dorogi
Event Year Location Award/Result
Southern Cross Regional 2020 Cancelled/Virtual Regional Chairman’s Award
Woodie Flowers Finalist Award (Lyndell Clark)
South Pacific Regional 2020 Cancelled/Virtual FIRST Dean’s List Finalist Award (Sarah Eckert)


 2019 – Destination: Deep Space

The 4th year of competition for FRC Team 5985 brought a number of challenges – and triumphs!

The season started with an unexpected move to Mt St Thomas Public School, as the rooms at Wollongong West were no longer available. Finding a new location was a difficult process, with a number of potential locations falling through before the team secured a workshop. Moving day was a draining experience, with transporting the team’s equipment and materials requiring a great deal of manual labour!

Destination: Deep Space also provided a new milestone for 5985, with the creation and mentoring of FRC Team 7583 (The Elonera Embers). This was the first team created by 5985, and the two teams spent a lot of time working together.

5985 itself underwent a number of changes, with several senior members entering Year 12 and University. New recruits and mentors came as well, adjusting the team’s size to 31 team members from 15 high-schools across two countries! With new team members learning from the old, 5985 continued to refine structure and approach, using new processes to improve robot development. Altered team structures, dedicted team roles, and an expanded CAD team all produced exceptional results. New heights were reached in Strategy (with the CSP program expanding again) and Awards – where both writing and video production produced amazing results.

When it came time for the Australian Regional, 5985 returned to both the South Pacific and Southern Cross events. The Collaborative Scouting Program proved its worth again, producing excellent information that benefited several teams. This was most apparant when 5985 captained the winning alliance in the Southern Cross Regional, accompanied by 4613 (Barker Redbacks) and – in a fitting partnership – our protegees 7583.

Riding high on that triumph, 5985 took part in the South Pacific event, facing a much larger field of teams and tougher competition overall. Picked by Alliance #3 but knocked out in the semi-finals, the team thought they had done well. Being named winners of the Chairman’s Award was a shock, but produced a great deal of rejoicing amongst the team.

As Regional Winners and Chairman’s Award winners, 5985 returned to the FIRST Championships in Houston, finishing 20th in the Galileo Division and being the 1st Pick of an Alliance #7. Knocked out in the Semi-Finals, the team still celebrated a successful season. Bring on Infinite Recharge!

  • Woodie Flowers: Matt MacDonnell
  • Dean’s List #1: Zac Hah
  • Dean’s List #2: Gideon Meischke
Event Year Location Award/Result
Southern Cross Regional 2019 Sydney Olympic Park Entrepreneurship Award
Ranked 1st
Regional Winner (Captain of 1st-Placed Alliance)
South Pacific Regional 2019 Sydney Olympic Park Regional Chairman’s Award
Ranked 8th
Eliminated in Semi-Finals (1st Pick of 3rd-Placed Alliance)
FIRST Championships 2019 Houston, Texas Eliminated in Division Semi-Finals (Ranked 20th 1st Pick of 7th Placed Alliance)


 2018 – FIRST Power Up!

5985’s 3rd year of competition built on all the lessons learned from Stronghold and STEAMWorks. With a permanent base at Wollongong West Public School, the team grew to 34 team members from 15 high schools.

Now working in defined teams, the 5985 students tried out new processes in prototyping and design. Some hard decisions were required, but the final result was out best robot yet! Strategy, Awards, and Media also advanced in skill and workflow.

Returning for a double-Regional in Sydney was another epic undertaking, but well worth the effort. 5985 trialled their “Collaborative Scouting” program, pooling resources with other FRC teams to provide Scouting coverage of all matches without overloading individual Scouts. The results were impressive, allowing all the teams involved to develop effective strategies. The Robot performed well in both tournaments, but the South Pacific Regional was the crowning achievement, with 5985 captaining the winning alliance! This effort was only possible due to the combined work of Pit Crew, Awards, Scouting and Drive teams.

As Regional Winners, 5985 competed in the FIRST Championships in Houston, where they were 3rd Pick of an Alliance and played in the Semi-finals. Once again, many valuable lessons were learned, and many new friends made. We’re now ready for Destination: Deep Space!

  • Woodie Flowers: Andrew Clark
  • Dean’s List #1: Riley Huisman
  • Dean’s List #2: Isaac Clark
Event Year Location Award/Result
Southern Cross Regional 2018 Sydney Olympic Park Entrepreneurship Award
Ranked 4th
Eliminated in Semi Finals (Ranked 4th, 1st Pick of 2nd-Placed Alliance)
South Pacific Regional 2018 Sydney Olympic Park Woodie Flowers Finalist Award (Andrew Clark)
Creativity Award
Regional Winners (Ranked 2nd, Captain of 2nd-Placed Alliance)
FIRST Championships 2018 Houston, Texas Eliminated in Division Semi-Finals (Ranked 33rd, 3rd Pick of 4th Placed Alliance)


 2017 – FIRST STEAMWorks

5985’s second year was marked with both crushing despair and soaring triumph (and no, we’re not exaggerating). The team grew to 25 students from 11 high schools, with a total of 8 mentors. The team moved to the new base of Wollongong West Public School and tried to learn from last season.

“CAD before you cut” was our new directive, which seemed to work well – although our inexperience showed with several minor (and one major) mistakes requiring some urgent redesign! Internal team management improved, although there were still things we could do better.

Signing up for two tournaments was a new experience for the team, but something worthwhile – even if it did mean a week in Sydney! A excellent run in the Southern Cross Regional was spoiled by a “brutal” disqualification in the semi finals. The experience was traumatic, but the team handled themselves with extreme grace. This was turned around in the South Pacific Regional, where 5985 earned the Chairman’s Award! Not something that any of us expected, being only a second year team.

The Chairman’s Award earned 5985 a trip to Houston, where we experienced a FIRST Championship as an FRC team. There were many valuable lessons learned, and many new friends made. Now we’re ready to do it all again!

  • Woodie Flowers: Jason Wilson
  • Dean’s List #1: Marcus Jones
  • Dean’s List #2: Isaac Clark
Event Year Location Award
Southern Cross Regional 2017 Sydney Olympic Park FIRST Dean’s List Finalist Award (Marcus Jones)
Entrepreneurship Award
South Pacific Regional 2017 Sydney Olympic Park Safety Award
Regional Chairman’s Award
FIRST Championships 2017 Houston, Texas


 2016 – FIRST Stronghold

5985’s rookie year was a learning experience! The team didn’t have a permanent HQ, and started the season meeting at the Illawarra Christian School. We then moved to the 1st Korrahill Scout Hall when school started again.

The team ended up building three separate robot versions before the end of Build Season, and had one “Bumper Mistake” that required a redesign of some key functions. Even though we were a rookie team, we worked to complete “practice” entries for the Chairman’s Award, Entrepreneurship Award, and Safety Animation.

Our first tournament was an amazing experience, and the team did spectacularly well for a rookie team, finishing in third place and captaining the 2nd-placed alliance – made up of Chicago Knights and IC Robotics. We were knocked out in the Semi-finals.

  • Woodie Flowers: Andrew Clark
  • Dean’s List #1: Theresa Haley
  • Dean’s List #2: Matt Scott
Event Year Location Award
Australian Regional 2016 Sydney Olympic Park Highest Rookie Seed
Creativity Award
Duel Down Under 2016 Macquarie University Winners
Inspire Award