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Warwick Valley High School’s Robotics Team Wins Qualifier, Headed to State Championship

on January 31, 2020

 In only its second year of existence, the Warwick Valley High School robotics club earned its first bid to compete in a statewide championship tournament.

The team– aptly named Warwick Robotics– will compete at the New York Excelsior FIRST Tech Challenge Championship at SUNY Polytechnic Institute in Utica on March 14th after winning the New York Excelsior Yonkers Qualifier on Saturday, January 25th.

This is Warwick Robotics’ second year as a FIRST Tech Challenge team. The school’s first robotics club was founded by STEM education teacher Michael Stolt at the beginning of the 2018-19 school year and is its advisor.

The Yonkers qualifier drew 21 teams in the state, which came from as far west as Corning, New York. The teams were seeking one of the top three spots in order to advance to the state competition. WVHS won four of five matches in the qualification round to become the top seed going into the semi-finals. Then, it won the first two matches in a best of three format in both the semifinal and championship rounds.

“I am so proud of every one of these students and of Mr. Stolt,” said Dr. David Leach, Superintendent. “This club has accomplished so much in just two short years and that success can be directly attributed to the exceptional and growing STEM program we have in the Warwick Valley Central School District, and the incredible motivation of our students as well as their love for robotics.”

FIRST Tech Challenge teams are challenged to design, build, program and operate robots that build a structure in competitions. Teams use supplied building components and fabricate custom parts to build their robots based on engineering principles and document the robot-building process. They use Java to program the robots for an autonomous portion of each competitive match.

The teams compete in a head-to-head challenge in an alliance format, which pairs two teams to work together for individual matches against another alliance of two teams. Four robots – one from each team – run on the tournament field at once.

“All their hard work and dedication really paid off for them,” said Mr. Stolt.

The team currently has 19 students in grades 9 through 12. The students are divided into groups that handle robot building, outreach and fundraising and engineering documentation of the team. They have been meeting twice a week since September.

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