The Wellington robotics team will compete in the First Tech Challenge championship tournament in February. FTC awards tournament slots to teams that have earned the highest judged award, the Inspire Award. The Wellington Jaguars impressed judges with a compelling story of this year’s robotics journey from brainstorming in September through design and construction of both robots “Scooter” and “AimBot” to recent outreach at our school’s All Things Wellington event where they shared the excitement of robotics with parents and younger students. As a result, the Jaguars advanced to the championships.
Previously, the Wellington robotics team took part in the Newark First Tech Challenge tournament in early December. Everyone on the team hoped their work in designing the robot “Scooter” to be the best button pushing robot would pay off and it did. Darting in and out of other, slower, robots and scoring many points by capturing beacons, Scooter was the best in the tournament at scoring beacons.
The tournament consisted of five qualifying matches where each team is partnered with a randomly selected team to compete against another two team partnership. After the first three rounds Wellington was in 2nd place. “We then ran into a few technical problems in rounds 4 and 5,” said Wellington Director of Technology John Kruzan, “so we ended the qualifying rounds in 8th place out of 25 teams. That is still fantastic. The energy and excitement of the team was present all day long.”
After qualifying the top four teams get to pick their partners for the semifinals. It was a rewarding feeling for the Wellington team to be selected after all their hard work in putting Scooter together. In the semi-finals, the team’s technical issues continued and was unable to advance to the finals. However, they did manage to score points for their alliance along the way.
The team received one more surprise for the day by winning the Rockwell Collins Innovate Award. Their work in designing Scooter from start to finish without using stock parts was recognized by the judges along with their uniquely engineered button pushing mechanism.
“Coach Klingler and I were proud of the way our team members represented Wellington throughout the day,” Kruzan said. “I was particularly proud of them when I heard they won this award. It was recognition of several months of doing things the ‘harder’ way.”