Spartabots Robotics Team Competes in FIRST Tech Challenge

The “Spartabots” participated in the FIRST Tech Challenge Northern Regional Competition at Orange County High School on Saturday, January 31.

The students on Chris Lundberg’s FIRST Tech Robotics Team—known as the “Spartabots”—participated in the FIRST Tech Challenge Northern Regional Competition at Orange County High School on Saturday, January 31. The team placed twelfth out of 26 teams, winning three out of five matches. The Spartabots were competitive (ranked in the top five teams) for the first three rounds of the event; however, a broken axle on the robot during round four eventually knocked them out of the elimination round. The team included 15 Steward students: team captain Matt Gelber and his fellow seniors Henry Harrell and Adam Mickle; juniors Mary Madison Andrews, Kara Bright, Abigail Herring, and Cameron Simpson; sophomores Alex Lee and Davis Mohar; freshmen Xzavier Caldwell, Peter Clevenger, Chris Dellosso, and Randolph Reazin; eighth-grader Jessica Shedden; and seventh-grader Nik Bright.

The theme of this year’s competition was “Cascade Effect,” for which the teams had to design robots that could pick up golf ball- and baseball-sized plastic balls. Teams scored points for placing the balls into goals that consisted of tube containers of various heights. As the “end game” of this year’s competition, the robot could earn extra points by moving the goals up a ramp and onto a platform.

FIRST, which stands for “For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology,” is a worldwide robotics competition founded by scientist Dean Kamen (creator of the Segway). Robotics teams from all over Virginia participate in this event annually to train students in areas such as computer programming, engineering design, construction of robots, and the creation of engineering notebooks. Regardless of the outcome of the competitions, students gain invaluable hands-on experience in working complex robotics problems, as well as good design and construction ideas to carry forward to the next year’s robotics challenge. For more information on the FIRST Robotics program, go to

Congratulations, Spartabots!





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