MILLBURN, NJ — It has been a bittersweet week for Millburn Robotics, as a state championship win was tempered with the knowledge that the team will not be able to compete in this year's world championships.
On Saturday, March 8, the reigning world-champion Millburn High School Robotics team won the New Jersey State VEX Championship at The College of New Jersey. Along with the state-championship win, three teams advanced to the now-canceled 2020 VEX Robotics Worlds Championship that was to be held in Louisville, Kentucky in April.
In addition, a fourth Millburn High School robotics team won a bid to the FTC World Championship, also canceled that was to be held in Detroit, Michigan in April as well.
The success of the teams was not lost on the advisors, who both remarked on what would have been Millburn's third appearance at the international competition, and the first time that more than one team qualified.
“We strive to provide a program in robotics and computer science education that is unparalleled,” David Farrell, MHS technology teacher and team advisor said. “Our program is designed to prepare our students not only in the academic aspects, but we also build their critical thinking, communication, conflict resolution and teamwork skill sets.
"Our success would not be possible without the Millburn Education Foundation and their tireless support of our program. Also, our administration has allowed us to be bold and has given us their trust to allow us to flourish. Four teams qualifying for their respective World level competitions is a testament not only to our program but to our team parents who support us in every aspect.”
“We are thrilled that Millburn High School won the New Jersey state championship and that we will have a record 4 teams represented at both the VEX and FTC World Championships this spring,” Hilton Seibert, MHS technology teacher and team advisor added prior to the cancellations. “Our students are incredibly dedicated and hardworking and we are so proud that their efforts are being recognized as some of the best young innovators in the world.”
At the state championship, Millburn teams 7405P and 7405M faced each other in the final round after 11 hours of competition. In addition, Team 7405N was a semi-finalist and 7405K was a quarter-finalist. Millburn teams also took home the Excellence Award, Innovate Award and Skills Challenge Award.
As of press time, Millburn teams are ranked 14th, 23rd, 82nd and 389th in skills scores out of 4,941 global scores.
Before the outbreak of Coronavirus, the team was looking to raise funds in order to compete and send 36 students to Kentucky and Michigan to their respective championships. There had been a robotics open house fundraiser at the MILL scheduled for March 23, but that has been postponed indefinitely.