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Mamaroneck High School Excels In Robotics Competition

Jack Phillips, left, captain of the robotics club at Mamaroneck High School, puts some finishing touches on this year's robot entered in a Saturday First Tech Challenge competition at John F. Kennedy Catholic High School. Photo Credit: Jon Craig
Members of Mamaroneck High School's robotics club which competed against 20 other schools from the Hudson Valley on Saturday in Somers. Photo Credit: Jon Craig
Members of Mamaroneck High School's robotics club at work near the "playing field" used by their new robot to climb a mountain of debris and pick up other debris. Photo Credit: Jon Craig

SOMERS, N.Y. -- Mamaroneck High School was among 20 schools from the Hudson Valley to compete in Saturday's First Tech Challenge at John F. Kennedy Catholic High School in Somers..

Mamaroneck's team advanced to the semifinals and placed fourth overall on Saturday at the Mid-Hudson Valley qualifying tournament. About 3,000 teams are competing internationally. Seven teams advance to the Hudson Valley Regional Championships at Pace University in Pleasantville on Feb. 21.

An after-school club offered by engineering and computer science teachers Jim Love and Jigar Jadav includes 15 high school students. They designed a robot that is programmed to climb slopes and pick up objects. Throughout the competitive season, the students will upgrade the robot's programming ,and make any changes necessary to improve its performance, according to Jadav.

"We're still pushing the edge,'' Love said of the deadline pressure to get the robot operating at top performance levels before its first competition.

During Saturday's competition, the robot was run through a timed obstacle course in a series of different challenges throughout the day, competing against but sometimes teamed up with robots from the other schools. The playing field measures about 12-by-12 feet. Robots score more points depending on how high they can climb or how many pieces of debris they can pick up in allotted time frames.

Last year's robot was called "The TIger Tank,'' according to Jack Phillips, a senior and team captain. That robot was designed to pick up wiffle balls. 

"One of the hardest things for robots to do it gather debris or climb debris,'' Jadav said.

Mamaroneck's next robotics competition is Jan. 23 at Yonkers High School. Additional photos and updates can be found on the team's Twitter feed here.

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