Arts & Entertainment

Crowds Come to Sparta High School's Robotics Competition: Sparta Teams Headed to States

Credits: Jennifer Derick
Credits: Jennifer Dericks
Credits: Jennifer Dericks
Credits: Jennifer Dericks
Credits: Jennifer Dericks
Credits: Jennifer Dericks
Credits: Jennifer Dericks
Credits: Jennifer Dericks
Credits: Jennifer Dericks
Credits: Jennifer Dericks
Credits: Jennifer Dericks
Credits: Jennifer Dericks
Credits: Jennifer Dericks
Credits: Jennifer Dericks
Credits: Jennifer Dericks

SPARTA, NJ -  Teams from across New Jersey, came together at Sparta High School for the school’s first VEX robotics competition. Sparta’s four teams joined 34 other teams on Sat, Feb 13 with teams making it to the final round.  One team even earned an award for excellence.

Benjamin Mitchell, President of the Garden State Robotics welcomed everyone to the event saying, “We don’t usually have facilities this nice.” The cafeteria was turned into the staging area with a practice pit and even a fully stocked concession stand.  The main gym had two competition pits.

After Mitchell’s introduction and explanation of the day’s program, the Robotics teacher and team advisor Mark Meola went on to coach every team’s performance.

Sign Up for E-News

When asked about each team’s performance, Evan Marcino responded “good is the enemy of great, our robot is good but could be great.”

For Sparta, three out of the four teams went on to compete in the final rounds, though the final team had to decline due to technical difficulties. The team of John Tartaglia, Ben Giugliano, Brenden Brusberg, Alex Poret and Ibrahim Awan made it into the final six but were unable to place first, second or third.  The team qualified for states, however, by receiving the Excellence Award also known as the Best Overall Award which is a state-qualifying award.

Shocked about receiving the award, team member Ben Giugliano said “In the last couple competitions we placed in the middle of the pack, but the hard work we’ve put in has begun to pay off and it showed in our four place finish.”

The VEX Robotics Competition is a STEM activity for middle school and high school students.  An engineering challenge is presented and students build robots in order to complete the task. While adhering to many rules and regulations, the robot goes on to try score the most points possible in qualification matches, elimination matches and skills challenges. By successfully completing these challenges, robots can qualify for states based on points earned in the categories of Driving, Programming and Skills.

This year’s challenge was to build a robot that could pick up, load and shoot foam balls into a net basket structure or the pole structure in front. Requiring precise measurements and projectile, the participants try to score as many balls in the designated area in order to score as many points as possible.

Competitors had to program the bots to work autonomously as well as to be controlled by a team member. Strategy is a large factor in winning with different point values for different colored balls, ability to block and score on the opponent to keep the score in the preferred range. 

Beginning at 11 a.m., 65 qualification matches began. Teams were randomly paired to work together competing against another pair of teams; four bots in the pit at a time. Each win represented an increase in ranking.  Each team was given seven qualifying matches to win the most possible points or matches.

In the final rounds the top six teams went on to compete for first, second and third place. In addition, teams could also win awards for things like Best Technical Journal, Design and more.

Sparta High School will be sending three teams to states, scheduled for Sunday, Feb 21 in Cherry Hill.

The competition concluded on a high note, Mitchell said, “Next year I expect to have double the amount of teams with all the bleachers full.”


TAP Into Another Town's News:

You May Also Be Interested In

Sign Up for E-News


Sparta Police: Pot Arrest for Man Laying Down in Parked Car

February 19, 2018

SPARTA, NJ – Two people sitting in the back seat of a car parked on Indian Trail made someone suspicious enough to call Sparta Police Department.  On February 15 around 12:50 a.m. Sparta Police Officer Erick Finley went to investigate the red Dodge Caliber police report.

A man and a woman were lying down in the back seat when the officer arrived.  Finley asked them both for ...

Sparta Police: Stop for Broken Light Ends with DWI for Newton Man

SPARTA, NJ – A Newton man caught the attention of Sparta Cpl Rubino when he drove passed him on West Shore Trail with a broken license plate light.  Alexis Obolensky was stopped in his gold Subaru on February 15 around 7:45 p.m., police report.

When the officer was stopping the 28-year-old driver he saw him flick a cigarette out the window.  As Rubino spoke with him he smelled ...

Sparta Police Nab Two on Outstanding Warrants

SPARTA,NJ – Several people with active warrants were picked up by Sparta Police this week. On February 12 around noon, Sparta Police Officer Christopher Favaro stopped Newark resident Alex Nunes-Ramalho, 23, for broken break lights on his gold Chevy Impala. 

 Nunes-Ramalho told Favaro that he did not have his wallet with him.  Instead, the driver showed the officer a ...

Upcoming Events


Tue, February 20, 6:30 PM

Sparta United Methodist Church, Sparta

Girl Scout STEAM Program

Arts & Entertainment Education

Sat, February 24, 7:00 PM

The Prudential Center, Newark

Sparta Education Foundation Night Out with the NJ ...

Giving Back Sports


Tue, February 27, 6:30 PM

Sparta United Methodist Church, Sparta

Girl Scout STEAM Program

Arts & Entertainment Education


Fri, March 2, 7:00 PM

Wallkill Valley Regional High School, Hamburg

The Drowsy Chaperone

Arts & Entertainment


Sat, March 3, 7:00 AM

First United Methodist Church, Newton

Newton Rotary Pancake Breakfast

Food & Drink

One Injured in Two-Family House Fire in Newton

February 6, 2018

NEWTON, NJ—One man was injured, while three others escaped unharmed when a two-family two story apartment house caught fire on Saturday.  On January 27 at around 6:26 a.m. Newton Police received a 9-1-1 call from a passerby reporting a house on fire. Patrols immediately responded to the area and found a structure fire at 75 Trinity Street police report..

According to Police, ...

Paterson's Poet Laureate

February 13, 2018

PATERSON, NJ- The City of Paterson has given birth to famous athletes, business leaders, actors, and now, a poet laureate.

Born and raised in Paterson, Talena Lachelle Queen told TAPinto Paterson that she has been writing since she was five-years old, and, as she grew older, realized that when it came to pursuing studies and a career in writing, she “didn’t have a choice.” ...

How to Talk with Kids About the Florida Shooting

February 15, 2018

The tragedy of the Florida school shooting is devastating, leaving 17 killed and 15 injured. Our children can easily identify with what occurred yesterday. It will be the topic of conversation today in schools everywhere. School administrators are doing all they can to provide support and guidance. The shootings affect children, teachers, and school personnel. The school shooting ...

Top 5 Reasons to Hire a Real Estate Professional When Buying or Selling in NJ

Team Nest Builder knows that whether you are buying or selling a New Jersey home it can be quite the adventure, which is why you need an experienced real estate professional to guide you on the path to achieving your ultimate goal. But in this world of instant gratification and internet searches, many sellers think that they can ‘For Sale by Owner’ or ...

Does Marriage or Mortgage Come First?

According to the National Association of REALTORS most recent Profile of Home Buyers & Sellers, married couples once again dominated the first-time homebuyer statistics in 2017 at 57% of all buyers. Team Nest Builder knows it's no surprise that having two incomes to save for down payments and contribute to monthly housing costs makes buying a home more ...

Very Hot Tea Increases Cancer Risk

Researchers in China studying the consumption of “burning” hot tea, alcohol, and smoking habits of greater than 450,000 people ages 30 –79 for more than nine years found a five time greater risk of esophageal cancer in those who engaged in all three of the behaviors and a two time greater risk in those who either smoked or drank alcohol and consumed burning hot tea as compared ...


AtlantiCast Medical Minute: Atlantic Orthopedic Institute’s Scoliosis and Spinal Deformity Center

On this episode of the AtlantiCast Medical Minute, we’ll take you inside the Atlantic Orthopedic Institute’s Scoliosis and Spinal Deformity Center, with the center’s director, Jason Lowenstein, MD.

Video Link:

AtlantiCast Episode 011

Breaking Atlantic Health System news on this week’s AtlantiCast! Plus, find out why Morristown Medical Center is one of the best hospitals in the nation when it comes to recovering from joint surgery, see the newest center for fighting brain cancer and an Atlantic Health System red-carpet premiere!


Sussex County Board of Chosen Freeholders February 14 2018 Meeting Video

NEWTON, NJ - Sussex County Board of Chosen Freeholders February 14 2018 Meeting Video 


Sparta Woman's Club General Meeting

February 19, 2018

Sparta Woman's Club will have a meeting on Wednesday, March 7, 2018 at 11:45 am at the Lake Mohawk County Club located at 21 Boardwalk in Sparta. This month Kelly Evans, proprietor of Signs, Inc, will present the history and the technique for creating Pysanky, Ukrainian Easter eggs. Please contact Jennifer Mohr at 973-726-7273 for information on attending.