CHATHAM, NJ - Chatham senior Chris Landolfi knew from past experience that even at a STEM event like a FIRST Robotics competition, it's a good idea to check the math.

Landolfi's quick calculation in his head, followed by his challenge of the final score turned defeat into victory in the semifinal round and put the Chatham Cougars and the //Cougars collaborative robotics teams into the championship round.

It all made for an interesting and satisfying day for the host Chatham High teams at the FIRST Robotics 27-team state regional tournament held Sunday in the Chatham High gym.

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The Chatham Cougars and //Cougars lost in the final to the collaborative teams Critical Mass of Dwight-Englewood School and the Jersey STEM WeByte team, which included Chatham High students, Josh Smith and Edward Lam.

Winners Critcial Mass and WeByte will advance to the state finals in February, along with //Cougars, the runner-up for the Inspire Award.

The score announced in the semifinal round had knocked Chatham out of the competition, but Landolfi's quick calculations made for an exciting finish for the host team, allowing them to compete in the finals.

"I was doing it my head and it didn't add up," Landolfi said. "As soon as the match ended, I started counting it to see if I was right."

Chris Landolfi explains how his opponents were given points by mistake in the semifinal round that was reversed in favor of the Chatham Cougars 

"I am extremely happy with the outcome," Julianna Ryan, Chatham HIgh robotics teacher, said. "This is so early in the season, we're such a new program. Some of these teams have been competing for eight, nine years. So for my second-year team and my third-year team to be able to come out and compete against them is a testament to how great these kids are, how much work they put in on what they do.

"It's only the beginning of the fourth month of school and we've probably spent 150 hours outside of class working on these robots. They're so dedicated, it's a well-deserved final outcome of the day."

Anthony Tesoriero talks about Sunday's regional and the fact that //Cougars have advanced to the state finals in February

The Chatham Cougars and //Cougars compete in the deciding match of the finals on Sunday.