ROXBURY, NJ - The Eisenhower Middle School Robotics Team (Roxbotix Jr.) joined 24 other teams Jan. 22 at Morris Knolls High School in another First Tech Challenge Competition.

EMS finished in 14th place, but was selected again to be a part of a playoff alliance after six qualifying matches. All matches are two-on-two, Playoff captains choose their playoff partners, and that is how Roxbury was picked once again. The Roxbotix Jr. team was chosen by the fourth place team for the entirety of the playoffs.

“We upset the first place Alliance in the quarter finals and beat the 3rd place team in the finals," said team and club advisor Phil Moskowitz. "FTC competitions in our area are about 75 percent high school teams, and we were definitely one of, if not the, youngest teams there. Should we perform well at that event, we have an opportunity to earn our way into the State Tournament being held at the end of February.”

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Roxbury families came out in full support at this latest competition.

“The support of our EMS parents has been unbelievable all season," Moskowitz said. "At the Morris Knolls event, we took over roughly half of the spectator seating area and definitely had the loudest cheering section. It helps give our young students the confidence to compete against these older teams.”

This robotics team doesn’t just work on technical skills such as engineering and mechanics, noted Moskowitz.

“They also work on life skills such as problem-solving, critical thinking and communicating with students from other schools who are preparing for graduation and college," he said. "It makes for an interesting dynamic, yet extremely rewarding experience. To perform this well as a rookie team is extremely rare. To perform this well as a middle school team is even rarer, so what we have been able to accomplish in our first year so far is truly an amazing accomplishment for all involved.”

The EMS Roxbotix Jr. team is guided Moskowitz and team mentors: Matt Brauer, Shah Dabiri and Mike Kovach.

The team members include Andrew Simonsen (Gr 9), Eric Malandrino (Gr 9), Zach Solano (Gr 8), Rohan Prabhu (Gr 8), Caleb Stephen (Gr 7), Sarah Wilson (Gr 7), Tejas Mehta (Gr 7), Brodie Haughey (Gr 7), Joseph Kovach (Gr 7), Paul Corrente (Gr 7), Andrew Wilson (Gr 7), and Colin Robertson (Gr 7).

Roxbotix Jr.’s next competition is the Northwest County Tournament at Warren County Tech on Feb. 4.

For more information regarding the First Tech Challenge, visit http://www.firstinspires.org/.