In only its 2nd year of existence, the Staples robotics team is 2nd in the world.
The Wreckers team and their robot — Shaquille O’Steel — demolished big-time opponents throughout 2 days of grueling competitions in the First Tech Challenge at Atlanta’s Georgia Dome. Over 10,000 spectators watched the high school students roll over teams sponsored by — get this — NASA, MIT, Princeton and Stanford.
As the Staples upstarts quickly gained the respect of judges, referees and spectators, they raced into the finals of the FTC World Championship against Canada’s Alberta Longhorns. The Georgia Dome rocked as the Wreckers won the first game. But the northerners took the next two, to earn the title.
Staples is now the #2 high school robotics team in the world. Over 1,100 squads competed, from 25 countries.
The breathtaking run comes on the heels of the Wreckers’ Massachusetts regional title (where they defeated the MIT labs’ high school team), the New York regional championship (where they downed Bronx High School of Science and Stuyvesant), and the Connecticut tournament (where they also won an award for best engineered robot).
CNN and NBC have called the events “The Super Bowl of Smarts.” Each tournament features competitions, such as robots removing colored hockey pucks from a rack and placing them in various locations on a playing field.
Team members spend over 15 hours a week improving their design. Shaq O’Steel includes an oversized carrying bin, rear stabilization bar, side accuracy flaps, frontal accuracy flap and wheel technology.
Interestingly, all team members are sophomores. They got involved in robotics last year because, as freshmen, they could not crack Staples’ engineering team.
Congratulations to Harris Durrani, Jehangir Hafiz, Eric Lubin, Todd Lubin and Timothy Yang. You’re #2 in the world — and #1 in Westporters’ hearts.
And this just in: Due to budget cuts, the entire robotics curriculum may be eliminated next year.