Fear the Gear at Season’s first, First Tech Robotics Meet

Fear the Gear tinkering before the competition. Credits: Lucy Malatesta
Students from other teams gather around asking questions and taking photographs. This is what First Tech Challenge calls "gracious professionalism." Credits: Lucy Malatesta
Competing on the field. This year's game is Velocity Vortex. Credits: Lucy Malatesta
Ryan Sherman, Ryan Buchser, Yuwen Zhang, Paul Malatesta, Eric Tonno Matt Stasiukevicius, Sunil Sakthi Velavan, Peter Dawson, Jonathan Namovic, Caroline Duemling, Paul Coyne, all CHS students Credits: Lucy Malatesta

BAYONNE, NJ - Fourteen brave teams gathered at Bayonne High School Sunday to test their robotics skills and start working out the kinks in their building and programming before competition heats up and the stakes get higher in November and December.

Scheduled just a few weeks after this year’s Velocity Vortex game reveal, Bayonne’s Early Bee Meet was under subscribed because most teams are not courageous enough to display their works in progress. Experienced teams know this is the perfect time and place to experiment and trade ideas.

Fear the Gear had its share of struggles, but in true FTG or Macgyver style they rolled with the setbacks, adding a few more rubber bands, a bit of duct tape, and actually cut up a paper coffee cup from the concession stand to adjust their robot’s ball launcher.

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First Tech Challenge’s value, “gracious professionalism” was very evident. Livingston’s Lancer team took a look at Fear the Gear’s programming, Fear the Gear lent equipment to another Chatham team, visiting teams made the rounds asking questions and taking photos.

Fear the Gear made it to the semi-finals as part of a three team alliance. Their next competition will be on Nov. 20 in Mount Olive. Fear the Gear is an independent First Tech Challenge robotics team, all of whose members are Chatham High School students. For further information contact Lucy Malatesta at

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