ROXBURY, NJ - Eisenhower Middle School’s RoxBotix Jr. team competed recently in the FIRST Tech Challenge (FTC) at Wayne Hills High School.

The team, composed of seventh- and eighth-graders, took on high school competitors from around the region. Unfortunately, due to tie-breaking procedures, the team missed out on the playoffs for the day.

Team advisor and EMS STEM teacher Phil Moskowitz said, “We were fifth seed going into our last match and lost, which made us tumble all the way down to 15th due to the tie-breaking procedures. If we had won, we would’ve stayed at fifth.”

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Thirty-two teams competed overall with EMS being the only middle school represented.

“In our region, we generally see roughly 90 percent high school-based teams," Moskowitz said. "Occasionally they will have a few middle schoolers mixed in, but there are rarely middle school only teams.”

The team’s next event is the county tournament at Warren County Technical School on Feb. 3.

FTC is a robotics competition for students in grades 7-12 according to First Tech Challenge New Jersey website:

“Teams of up to 15 students are responsible for designing, building and programming their robots to compete as alliances against other teams. The robot kit is reusable from year-to-year and is programmed using JAVA. Teams are required to develop strategy and build robots based on sound engineering principles. Awards are given for the competition as well as for community outreach, design, and other real-world accomplishments. Teams advance from local qualifying tournaments to state championship tournaments, before advancing to the World Championship Tournament, held each year in April.”