Robotics team has most successful showing to date at competition

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The Nut Jobs, Broadalbin-Perth High School’s FIRST Tech Challenge robotics team, had its most successful competition to date at the Sauquoit FIRST Tech Challenge Qualifier on Sunday, Dec. 3.

FIRST Tech Challenge teams are challenged to design, build, program, and operate robots to compete in a head-to-head challenge in an alliance format. The Nut Jobs finished the Sauquoit qualifying round in 9th place out of 24 teams, winning three out of five matches. It was chosen by the third place team to join its alliance in the final rounds.

“This is the highest finish we have had in a tournament in the four years we have been a team, and the first time we have been chosen to be an alliance partner,” team mentor Jill Becker said. “Unfortunately, we were knocked out in the semifinal round, but we learned a lot about the game and the amount of space we have to move with all of the robots on the field.”

The team’s success was foreshadowed by junior Devin Becker. Prior to the competition, he expressed confidence in the team’s robot after utilizing the advice from Automated Dynamics, a robotics company that sponsors the Nut Jobs. The team recently visited the company at its Schenectady location.

“We went and and talked to them for a few hours and they gave us a lot of tips, and because of that we’ve built the most advanced robot we’ve ever had by far,” he said.

The competitions and preparations leading up to the events can be intense and require a lot of time, dedication and resources, but the students say it’s worth it.

“It’s a lot of work, but for me, it’s more fun than anything and it’s one of my favorite things about the school,” junior Ryan Gardner said. “I encourage others to seek out and join our robotics programs.”

The team’s next competition is scheduled on Dec. 17 in Red Hook, followed by Jan. 13 in Albany. At these tournaments, the Nut Jobs could advance to the regional competition at Pace University in February.