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St. Vincent-St. Mary robotics team takes state title, heads to world championship

News of the Diocese

March 22, 2023

St. Vincent-St. Mary robotics team takes state title, heads to world championship

The St. Vincent-St. Mary High School robotics team is preparing for the world championship tournament April 19-22 in Houston, Texas.

The Akron-based team earned a spot on the world competition after taking first place in the Miami Valley FIRST Robotics Competition. The Irish beat 376 of the top robotics teams in the state.

There are five seniors on the team – Anthony Chiera, Bella Dunlap, Owen Karl, Aidan Spoerndle and Brent Ujhazy – all of whom have been together as a team since they were freshmen.

“After working with them during their freshmen year and watching their determination, I expected that they would make it to a state championship. Then COVID got in the way and slowed things down, but in the end, they prevailed and when they did make it to the championship this year they were unstoppable. I am very proud of their accomplishment and I will miss them after they graduate.” said Bob Engels, the robotics team advisor.

Other robotics team members are freshman Daniel DeJong and sophomores Moses Janolo and Sam Zayed.

The FIRST Tech Challenge is a robotics competition for high school students based on a sports model. Robotics teams are responsible for designing, building and programming their robots to complete both a set of autonomous and remote-controlled tasks within a set of constraints. The more difficult the task, the more points it is worth.

Students begin by developing a game strategy to win the most points. Their strategy then drives the design, construction and programming of a robot. During competition, the teams are randomly paired with other teams from around the Midwest and compete as two team alliances against other teams, gaining points from each match. Winning designs generally take into account the possible strengths and weaknesses of other teams' robots they could be paired with so that they can maximize their scores by having a robot that pairs well with any level of partner robot.

Teams advance from two to three qualifying tournaments from late December to February to the state championship tournament. The winner of the state tournament advances to the World Championship Tournament, which will take place this year in Houston.

The FIRST Tech Challenge combines the excitement of sport with science and technology to create a unique varsity sport for the mind and helps high-school-age young people discover the rewarding and engaging world of innovation and engineering.

St. Vincent-St. Mary High School is a four-year, co-educational, college preparatory, Marianist sponsored and STEM-designated Catholic high school. STVM has been an integral part of the Akron community for more than 125 years. There are more than 17,000 alumni. Click here for more information.

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