Robotics teams to vie for Region crown

Originally published by – A Gannett Company – on April 13, 2012. While the link lasts, you can see the article on their site.

Robotics teams to vie for Region crown
Teams vie for Mid-Atlantic Region championship
– by Staff Writer

2011 New Jersey FIRST Robotics Competition

(#108432) Trenton, NJ 3/4/11 Teams compete during the 2011 New Jersey FIRST Robotics Competition at the Sun National Bank Center Friday March 4. Staff photo Tanya Breen

PHILADELPHIA — From 8 a.m. to 6 p.m today and Saturday, 13 Central Jersey FIRST Robotics Competition teams will compete in a 54-team event at the Mid-Atlantic Robotics Region Championship at the Liacouras Center, Temple University, in Philadelpia. The competition, “Rebound Rumble,” is open to the public and admission is free.

From this two-day competition, 12 teams will move forward to compete at the FIRST World Championships to be held April 26 to 29 in St. Louis.

The area robotics teams participating include Bound Brook High School, Bridgewater-Raritan High School, Hightstown High School, Hillsborough High School, Hunterdon Central Regional High School, Immaculata High School in Somerville, JFK Memorial in the Iselin section of Woodbridge, Middlesex High School, Montgomery High School, North Brunswick High School, Piscataway High School, St. Joseph High School in Metuchen, West Windsor-Plainsboro High School North and West Windsor-Plainsboro High School South.

“Rebound Rumble” is the FIRST version of basketball and its own “March Madness.” An alliance of three robots will compete against three other robots to pick up mini basketballs and shoot them into hoops at each end of the playing field to score points. Each end of the field has four baskets at different heights for the robots to shoot at and score — with points varying according to each basket’s height. At the end of the match teams can score additional points by balancing one or more robots on one of three “seesaw” bridges at the center of the playing field. Opposing teams can cooperate to balance one robot from each alliance on the center bridge for valuable extra points.

All 13 area teams earned their way to the Mid-Atlantic Region Championship by scoring qualifying points at two of five competitions held in March. Several of these teams distinguished themselves at those events. Most recently, the Hillsborough High School team won the highest honor, Chairman’s Award, at the Mount Olive High School competition. Also at that competition, the robotics team from North Brunswick was crowned champion, as it led its three-team alliance to the winner’s circle. The Montgomery High School team finished in second place as a member of a three-team alliance and won a Quality Award, while West Windsor-Plainsboro High School South won the Team Spirit Award. Immaculata High School was honored with a Judges’ Award.

Other teams that won honors at one of the five district events include Bound Brook High School, a member of the winning alliance at the competition at Rutgers University.

For more information on FIRST Robotics competitions, go to or

Tori’s Video

When the announcement was made about the NBTHS Pep Rally honoring the team, Tori got started putting this video together. When it wasn’t used in that program, she tried to show it at a team dinner that evening. Unfortunately the laptop simply wasn’t up to the job. She passed it to me and I passed it to YouTube. Thanks, Tori!


The Greater Reward

2006 was a wonderful competitive year for Raider Robotix. The team won the NJ and Las Vegas Regionals and had a 31-0 win/loss record going into the Championship Event in Atlanta. We had been awarded the Chairman’s Award in NJ and Cokeley was given the Woodie Flowers Finalist Award. So when we played in Atlanta the team was pumped like no competition before.

Play at Championships was harder but still the team prevailed and we ended up winning the Newton Division with teams 968 and 195. It seemed like our alliance was unbeatable. We battled through the Einstein stage quarterfinals and finally came to face the alliance of 217, 296 and 522. Round 1 of the finals didn’t go well for us. Partner 195 pretty much fell apart on the field and we lost the round 26-53. But the drive team was ready for the second round and we were going to battle back.

In the interim between rounds word got to our alliance that a member of the competitor’s alliance had broken a linkage or something and didn’t have a replacement part. Our alliance had the needed part and we gave it over so they could play. It was no big deal. It was the right thing to do.

In the end fate decreed that we would lose that last round also- a shooting fest where it ended 98-94. We took second for the nation. We did our best and we did what was right.

A few months later the attached letter came to us through the mail.

Sometimes people ask if we would have changed our course of action had we known the final outcome. I would like to believe that we would do it all over again. Sure trophies are nice but peace of mind is the greater reward.

Mid-Atlantic Regional Event – Mt. Olive

What a weekend! Along with our alliance partners 3929 and 222, we won the MAR District Event in Mt. Olive, successfully besting the alliance of teams 103, 1403 and 3142. The score was super close – 53 to 52. There’s some YouTube video making the rounds, too. Watch the second finals match (courtesy of 523trident) or the winning match (courtesy of the Atomic Dragons).

Are we feeling pretty good? You bet we are!

MAR District Event at Mt. Olive

Raider Robotix - FIRST Team 25 - MAR District Event winners.