The Orange High School Robotics team, the Flying Circuits, won the FIRST Robotics State Championship this year.
FIRST is an acronym for “For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology” and NASA Glenn Research Center is among the robotics competition’s sponsors.
The top 24 teams across the state qualified for the championship, and the Orange team went undefeated going into the state playoffs, said faculty advisor and technology instructor Ryan McMonigle.
The team was able to hang on to its record, winning all five play-off matches, including two finals, at the state level.
To qualify for state-level competition, the Flying Circuits finished in third place during both regional events, attended by about 60 robotics teams. The competition, hosted every year by FIRST Robotics, works similarly to a sporting event. Every year, the organization picks a new game in which the robots compete and each team designs its robot around the game’s criteria.
“In the game, they came up with this year, the points were scored with inflatable cubes and traffic cones that (the team’s robot) had to place in different scoring grids,” Mr. McMonigle said. “It’s three-versus-three, so our robot was on a field with two other robots from other schools trying to grab the cubes.”
Since the competition was centered around grabbing the cones and cubes, the Flying Circuits built their robot with long-reaching arms.
“Your robot needs to be all folded up at the beginning, but as soon as the match starts, it can unfold. The team’s robot could reach up to six-and-a-half feet. They’re really fast, too,” Mr. McMonigle said.
Although the Orange Robotics team has won a competition through WOW, an organization partnered with FIRST Robotics to encourage women to engage in robotics and STEM, this is the first time the team has won a FIRST Robotics State Championship.
Mr. McMonigle said the team worked hard to get to this point. It was made up of more seniors than ever before.
“The team worked so many hours for this competition. As soon as the game is announced, it’s time on the field testing. There’s a driver who pilots and they’re testing on the field as the coders are programming and reprograming,” Mr. McMonigle said. “You find a weakness by testing the robots and then fix it in the shop and so on. It’s a lot of refining and lots of practice.”
The Flying Circuits won a trophy and a blue banner for their efforts and championship win, which the team’s faculty advisors hope to hang in the front hallway of the high school.
The Flying Circuits team members include president Halina Michener; vice president Nikki Kolure; treasurer Nathan Rice; secretaryTruman Williams; and Kallin Ford, Sarah Friedlander, Griffin Ginosar, Niranjan Girish, Tyler Heasley, Gemma Klisovic, Giada Klisovic, Ben Lilly, Charlie Loebl, Remy Perry, Michael Roberts, Charlie Rubsamen, Dominic Shotwell, and Ben Wei.
Simon Wieder serves as mentor and Jon Rice is the second faculty advisor.
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