Bobcat FIRST Robotics takes second in state competition

By Martha Marteney - Staff Writer
South Windsor - posted Thu., Apr. 7, 2011
SWHS senior and Bobcats FIRST robotics team co-captain Katherine Desy is in the pit with the rest of the crew repairing the robot between matches at the recent FIRST regional competitions. Photos by Luke Pukatch and Ashley Kasevich. - Contributed Photo

On April 2, the South Windsor High School Bobcats Robotics Team 177 competed in the 2011 Northeast Utilities FIRST Connecticut Regional Robotics Competition. The Bobcats team has been named world champions in 2007 and 2010.

At the recent state competition, the team finished second overall, working with alliance partners "Buzz Robotics" Team 175 from Enfield, Conn., and "The Force" Team 1073 from Hollis, N.H. The team also won the Industrial Design Award sponsored by General Motors for creating a robust and reliable robot.

Despite having participated in the regional competition for many years, it was the first year in awhile that the team was one of the top eight teams after the qualification matches. Such seeding made the team eligible to choose its two alliance partners, which is a key strategy in the robotics competition. According to co-captain Ben Waksman, a senior, the team selected the alliance partners after collecting data about the teams and by watching the individual matches. The two teams were chosen for their strengths that the Bobcat team valued for the final matches.,

Katherine Desy is a senior at SWHS and is co-captain. “I never intended on joining the robotics team when I started high school, but since my freshman year, it has made all the difference in choosing my path for the next few years,” said Desy. She added that she has enjoyed working on both the mechanical and business sides of the team; building the robot and working on the pit crew during competitions, as well as writing a business plan for the team and helping coordinate fundraising events, bringing in roughly $9,000 for the team over two years. She is planning on studying marketing and business at Syracuse University next year, but is also considering a degree in robotics engineering. “Robotics has given me an opportunity that no other club at SWHS could,” she said.

Bobcat robotics moves on to the International Championship competition, which will be held April 28 to 30 in St. Louis, Missouri. Based on their experience at the state competition, the team is improving the robot’s mini-bot deployment system, to enable the robot to better climb a 10-foot pole as part of the game elements.

For more information on the SWHS Bobcat FIRST robotics team, visit the website Details of the competition can be found on the website

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