PLAINSBORO, NJ - Chatham High School’s rookie robotics team does it once again. On Sunday, the 48 top FIRST Tech Challenge (FTC) teams from across the state gathered to compete at the New Jersey Garden State Rumble Championship at West Windsor Plainsboro High School North, two of which were Chatham’s own.

Both Chatham teams formed in the high school’s advanced robotics class under teacher and advisor, Julianna Ryan. As the day advanced, each team found success in their division, but //Cougars dominated their competition all throughout the qualification matches.

The Cougars rookie team "//Cougars," as the highest ranked team of the day, officially earned a place advancing on to the East Super-Regional Conference to compete against the 72 best teams from Maine to West Virginia for a chance to move on to the World’s Championship with 39 countries competing.

Sign Up for E-News

//Cougars teammates jumped for joy, ran up and down the bleachers, and celebrated their success. If you’d like to see the rest of this story unfolds over the next three weeks, catch their instagram at “CHSCougar_Robotics”. Let’s go //Cougars!

On Sunday, the team sat comfortably in the top-ranked seat for most of the day, until a tie knocked them into second place. That did not stop the determined students from strategizing to create the best situation possible as they progressed into the semi-finals. The auditorium erupted as hundreds of spectators cheered on the robots performing impressive autonomous programming, robots shooting wiffle balls at the center vortex, or even robots lifting yoga balls four feet off the ground. //Cougars luck ran out when they were defeated in the finals of their division.

Both Chatham teams gathered to watch the winners of both divisions battle it out for the championship title. The crowd’s enthusiasm only grew as the matches continued. Nearly 10 hours after the teams checked in and 6 months of work were coming to an end all at once for the majority of the teams in the room. Divisions between teams broke down as teams sat among one another congratulating everyone on their successes and discussing their seasons and future plans to collaborate. Soon the 10 teams to advance onto the East Super-Regional Championship would be announced.

Trophies were given to the winning teams as they worked their way through the line of dozens of FTC judges and volunteers cheering them on. As a division finalist, the members of //Cougars were among one of those teams. With smiles spread across their faces and medals around their necks, the team accepted their plaque.