Robotics Team Qualifies for NJ and PA State Tournaments

The MFS Robotics Team has qualified for both the New Jersey and the Pennsylvania state robotics tournaments.

On February 14, the MFS Hawks – represented by Scott Abrams ’15, Armon Adibi ’15, Ryan Baker ’16, Travis Benedict ’16, and Andrew Edzenga ’15 – earned several distinctions at the Lehigh Valley Qualifying Tournament. The Hawks won the Finalist Alliance Captains Award, were the captains of the second-place alliance, and were nominated for Think and Design Awards.

On February 15, teammates Abrams, Adibi, Baker, Benedict, Edzenga, Ahimsa Aradhya ’17, Dragon Ding ’17, Aparna Hiremath ’17, and Matthew Scalamandre ’15 earned several distinctions at the Southern New Jersey Meet Championship. The MFS Hawks were nominated for several awards, won the coveted Inspire Award (the most prestigious award given by FIRST®), and won the Winning Alliance Captain Award. These accomplishments collectively earned the team eligibility for state tournaments in New Jersey and Pennsylvania.

This year’s accomplishments continue a proud tradition in MFS Robotics. Over the past eight years, MFS teams have often qualified for state tournaments and have twice qualified for national competition. Physics Teacher Tim Clarke has led the Robotics teams throughout this time; he has served on the NJ FIRST® Tech Challenge committee for several years and was invited to bring his team to meet Dean Kamen (founder of FIRST®) at the Franklin Institute when Kamen accepted the Benjamin Franklin Medal for Science and Engineering in 2011.

“I attribute our history of excellence in Robotics to three factors: passionate students, dedicated coaches, and a supportive school community,” said Science & Engineering Department Chair Dr. Barb Kreider. “Students who excel at Robotics have more than technical acumen; they like team events, want to hone their communication skills, and are willing to help others. I admire our coaches, who give generously of their time and expertise before, during, and after school on many days of the school year and sometimes on the weekend, too.”

Physics Teacher Tim Clarke and Math Teacher Michael Omilian coach the Upper School teams in the FIRST® Tech Challenge. The FIRST® Tech Challenge (FTC) involves the production of reusable, modular robots. This year, FTC competitions involve 4,500 teams in more than three hundred Meets, League Championships, Qualifying Tournaments, Championship Tournaments, and Super-Regional Championship Tournaments.

FTC teams in the United States advance from state or regional-level Championship Tournaments to one of four Super-Regional Championship Tournaments before advancing to the FTC World Championship. Should the MFS Hawks be among the 72 teams that qualify for the Eastern Super-Regional Championship, they will compete March 20-22 at the University of Scranton. Should they prevail at the Eastern Super-Regional Championship Tournament, they will compete at the FIRST® Tech Challenge World Championship in St. Louis, MO in late April.

“Robotics is a tangible expression of our school’s commitment to keeping our students on the cutting edge of STEM; moreover, it is a vital component of the MFS science and engineering educational experience,” said Kreider.