The Student News Site of Bridgewater-Raritan High School

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The Student News Site of Bridgewater-Raritan High School

The Prowler

The Student News Site of Bridgewater-Raritan High School

The Prowler

Robotics Team 303 headed to District Championships at Lehigh

Students gather to compete as a team. (Alice Jiang)


A robust showing by Robotics Team 303 resulted in a ticket to Lehigh University.

The Bridgewater-Raritan High School Robotics Team  303  qualified for the District Tournament with a winning effort at the 2024 Warren Hills FIRST Mid-Atlantic (FMA) event, the second of two district qualifying competitions.

This competition was held at Warren Hills Regional High School in Washington on the weekend of March 22-24.

 The event, which is held annually at Warren Hills, became the second event of the season for the Bridgewater-Raritan team within the 2024 FRC Crescendo season.

Team 303 will now compete, without their robot, for the Engineering Inspiration Award at the District Championship at Lehigh University on Friday, April 5.

That trip to Lehigh, which is located in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, came about when Team 303 went back to square one after a difficult first competition at Hatboro-Horsham Senior High School in Horsham, Pennsylvania.

Despite facing challenges during the competition at Warren Hills, Team 303’s outstanding outreach efforts earned them the esteemed “Engineering Inspiration” award, highlighting their impact on the community.

The competition started with 62 qualification matches in which teams racked up points and made their way into the standings. This was to determine the eight alliance captains for playoffs, who would recruit other teams in a strategic way to compete in the playoffs.

Team 303’s robot, named “Chompy,” faced intense competition from other teams. Although the robot’s mainly defensive performance resulted in a ranking of 30 out of 32 teams, the team recognizes there is more to FIRST than the playing field.

Team 303’s greatest achievement at the event was receiving the “Engineering Inspiration” award. This prestigious award acknowledges their exceptional efforts in promoting engineering education and inspiring others. The team’s outreach programs have had a profound impact on their school and local community, emphasizing the importance of teamwork, innovation and problem-solving.

Through their outreach initiatives, Team 303 has actively engaged with elementary and middle school students, sharing their knowledge and passion for robotics. They have served as mentors for both FIRST Lego League (FLL) and Middle School Technical Design Challenge (MSTDCNJ) in their community. In addition, they host yearly science fairs and a week-long event called STEAM week, where they expose younger children to the world of science, technology, engineering, art and math.

Competition environment supervisor Rohan Gali reflected on this victory.

“The Engineering Inspiration award is a validation of our commitment to inspiring others and making a positive difference in our community,” he said. “While our robot’s performance may not have met our expectations, our outreach efforts have left a lasting impact on aspiring young engineers.”

Mr. John Sirusas, the faculty advisor for the team also commented.

“I am immensely proud of the team for winning the Engineering Inspiration award. While we are a smaller team with fewer resources, outreach has always been a focus for us. We hope to continue these efforts as we continue to expand our programs,” he said.

According to Amogh Jambekar, a valuable member of Team 303 in his role as Business Supervisor,  Bridgewater-Raritan students redesigned their intake and indexer subsystems and they essentially built a new robot within a two-week period for Warren Hills.

“The first day began with a strong start in practice matches and the first few qualification matches. However, as the event progressed, the robot experienced issues from wiring, mechanical and more. The team eventually ended the competition with a record of  three victories, nine losses and no ties,” Amogh said.

 Amogh then reported that “the driveteam was unchanged from the last event, consisting of Andrew Thoms (Driver), Arya Vaidya (Operator), Shivani Swarnakar (Coach), Aritra Banerjee (Technician), and Anika Seshan (Human Player).”

While their robot will not be competing at Lehigh, Team 303 will compete with the other eight Engineering Inspiration Award recipients from the region, in hopes of advancing to the FRC World Championships in Houston, taking place later in April.

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