Written by the students of Fitch High School and trusted since 1928

The Falcon Press

Written by the students of Fitch High School and trusted since 1928

The Falcon Press

Written by the students of Fitch High School and trusted since 1928

The Falcon Press

Robotics Team Participates in Cross-State Competition


WATERBURY, Conn. – The Fitch Robotics Team made it to the playoffs of the first competition of the 2024 season, ultimately coming up short of winning.

Fitch’s Robotics Team, the Aluminum Falcons, competed at last weekend’s FIRST Robotics Competition. The two-day long event was held at Wilby High School in Waterbury over the past weekend. 32 other schools from Connecticut and Massachusetts came together to compete with each other at this event. 

The FIRST Robotics Competition is an annual global high school level robotics competition that has been ongoing since 1989. Each year, high school robotics teams must create robots and compete with other school’s robots in a specially created game/challenge for that year.

The competition began with 64 qualification rounds being played between two alliances (each made up of three randomly selected partnering teams) which ranked the teams based on their performance and their alliance played during the match. The Aluminum Falcons were ranked 10th place at the competition at the end of the qualification rounds.

Afterwards, qualifying teams go on to compete in the playoffs, where the best ranking teams become “alliance captains” and can lead an alliance of two other partner teams they choose to work with. As there are only eight alliances in the playoffs, that means there can only be eight alliance captains in total. The Aluminum Falcons, due to their high ranking, were able to become alliance captains of their own alliance.

“I’m always blown away when I come and see what it is that you guys are doing here,” remarked Waterbury mayor Paul Pernerewski to a crowd of high school students during the opening ceremony of the event. “The skills that you’re learning here… are going to serve you well.”

At the event, teams hope to win a variety of awards such as the Impact Award (given to teams who are considered to be a “role model” for other teams to follow) or the Dean’s List (given to students who exemplify great leadership skills within a team). These awards are determined by judges who assess the teams based on these criteria and also based on presentations and interviews done by members of the team.

At the event, Jack Barie and Gianni Drab, both senior members of the Design subte

am, gave a sustainability presentation towards judges in hopes of winning the Design award and Sustainability award. At the end of the competition, the team had learned that they won the award.

“Presenting for the Sustainability Award was an incredible experience,” said Barie. “It felt both nerve-wracking and exhilarating to represent our team on such an important and passionate topic. After facing an abundance of adversity going into the 2023 season, losing 19 of our 21 mentors, we

Gianni Drab (left) and Jack Barie (right) holding a plaque and trophy for the Sustainability Award. (Sherri Facas)

put so much effort into our sustainability initiatives this year. I’m so proud of the robot we have created this year and the team we have become…Winning the award on behalf of the team was an amazing feeling. It was a testament to the dedication and hard work of everyone involved in our sustainability efforts.”          

In addition, Ada Gauthier was the Aluminum Falcons’ nominee for being interviewed for the FIRST Dean’s List in hopes of winning the award. Meanwhile, Katie Virtue, Victor Wilbur, and Kaleigh Allen were all chosen to be the team’s representatives for the Impact Award, giving a presentation about it to the judges. Despite not winning these honors, enthusiasm remained high.

“I am extremely proud of the team’s performance this weekend,” said Head Coach Sherri Facas. “We started out a little rocky on Saturday as we encountered some programming, mechanical, and electrical issues, but we kept our spirits high and worked collaboratively to tackle each challenge thrown our way regardless of the quick turnaround times between matches. I am most proud of the team for winning the Sustainability Award, which recognized the work we have put in to achieve team longevity and environmentally friendly practices, a core focus of ours.” 

Ultimately, the Falcons and their alliance were eliminated in the playoffs in a close match that was lost 52-55 in the second round lower bracket, meaning that they were unable to advance to the final rounds.

The next competition for the Aluminum Falcons will be from March 30th to 31st for the Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI) District Event in Worcester, Mass.

If they win at WPI, then they’ll be invited to compete in the New England District Championship with the best teams from all over the region.

The Waterbury event took place nearly two months after the 2024 Fitch Robotics season kickoff.

Leave a Comment
More to Discover
About the Contributor
Naman Patel, Staff Writer
Naman is a junior at Fitch High School. He enjoys weightlifting, and is a part of the Robotics team. He also is a part of the Debate Team and the Falcon News Video Crew. He enjoys doing video production, computer science, and learning about history. He hopes in the future to become a software engineer who lives in a big urban city.

Comments (0)

All The Falcon Press Picks Reader Picks Sort: Newest

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *