By TAYLOR HARTZ
The Southington Cyber Knights Robotics team picked up right where they left off, starting the new season with a victory. The CyberKnights, (FIRST Team 195) kicked off a series of regional competitions at the New England University of Massachusetts, Dartmouth, District Event earlier this month.
In order to move to the playoffs during the Dartmouth competition, the CyberKnights needed to rank in the top 8 teams with their competition bot.
They finished strong in the qualification rounds, earning fourth place going into the playoff rounds.
“We’re really excited about the start that the robotics team had for this year,” said Southington High School principal Brian Stranieri.
“The alliance was a beautiful machine together,” said Team 195 representatives in an announcement of the award last week.
Together, the three teams combined for 190 points to earn the highest overall score for New England to date. Their high score brought home the winning banner for the alliance.
Although they are used to competing at a high level, advisor Sandra Brino said the regional event provided a good learning experience for the team.
“They were shaking off their new robot for the first time,” she said. “At the end of the day, they were able to overcome adversity.”
The team experienced some trouble with the robot’s function, so they had to troubleshoot repairs throughout the competition. This is the robot they will be using all season, so it was important to rise to the challenge.
“We’re looking forward to bigger and better things as they progress through their competition season,” Stranieri said about the Cyber Knights, who will compete in the Hartford District Event April 2-3, and again in the New England Championship April 15-16.
”We hope that they progress to the level they did last year or maybe better,” said Stranieri. “The goal is always to get to St. Louis.”
The CyberKnights were division finalists in last year’s World Championship in St. Louis, Missouri, where they competed against teams from 15 different countries at the Edward Jones Dome and America’s Center.
Their success at the 2015 competition pre-qualified the team for the 2016 World Championships, where their entrance to the competition will be sponsored by NASA.
To comment on this story or to contact staff writer Taylor Hartz, email her at THartz@SouthingtonObserver.com.