Robotics Team Wows at First Tech Challenge Competition

Lawrenceville's Robotics team placed second at the 10th annual First Tech Challenge Competition this past Sunday.

Lawrenceville's Robotics team placed second at the 10th annual First Tech Challenge Competition this past Sunday. One of 25 teams that advanced past the semifinals, Big Red ultimately fell short in the final round. The team is advised by Dean of Academics David Laws P’21, Science Master Mary Calvert P’04 ’05 ’06, and Director of Design and Fabrication Rex Brodie and is led by President Christian Luu ’19.

The theme of this year’s First Tech Challenge was “space rovers,” and the teams were tasked with creating a robot which could collect “minerals” while navigating through an obstacle course. The competition is split into two phases: an autonomous phase, where the robot is meant to handle tasks by itself, and a driver phase, where the robot is driven by the team’s two drivers, Luu and Andrew Zheng ’20. Teams are ranked with a point system.

Preparation for the competition began at the beginning of the year. The team holds weekly meetings where it tests the robot in simulated trials, making adjustments as needed.

Of the team’s preparation, Nikhil Ajjarapu ’20 said,“We really put a lot of time into making sure that our robot can perform the best that it can on the day of competition. Our success was a testament to our hard work.”

In addition, Ajjarapu pointed to the help of the faculty advisors in making the process successful.

“Our advisors have really helped with giving feedback on our ideas, whether it be trying to add new parts to the robot or tweaking past designs.”

The team received a full score in the autonomous portion of the competition while receiving four of five matches in the driver portion. This placed the team in third place at the start of the second half of competition, in which teams were paired with other teams. Paired with the second seed team in the tournament, the Lawrenceville’s robotics team won in the semifinal round but lost in the final round.

Ajjarapu sees the final loss as an opportunity. “Of course there are always things that we can do better. Hopefully, we’ll be even more prepared for next week’s League Tournament.”

This Sunday, the team will compete at the annual League Tournament, the most important competition in the team’s season. Its performance will decide whether the team advances to the state competition.

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