MOUNT OLIVE, NJ - The Watchung Hills Regional High School robotics team, also known as Team 41 RoboWarriors, had its first competition of the 2017 season in Mt. Olive over this past weekend. This was their first of two district competitions, with the next being this coming weekend at Bridgewater High School.


The RoboWarriors were one of 37 robotics teams competing in Mt. Olive. In this year’s competition, titled FIRST Steamworks, the teams of three robots prepare a steam powered airship for takeoff. 


Each robot does basically three things: it shoots yellow balls (“fuel” for the airship) into a funnel at the top of a boiler, it retrieves gears and delivers them to the airship, and in the final 30 seconds of the match, it climbs about five feet up a rope to be on the airship when it takes off. 

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Team 41 competed well and overcame some technical glitches, and was ranked No. 9 overall out of the 37 teams at the end of the first day. It attempted unsuccessfully to climb the rope in each match, and then did climb the rope fully in winning its final match of Day 1. 


After winning their first match on Day 2, the RoboWarriors were ranked an impressive No. 6 , but unfortunately this did not last. In the end, they ranked 19 overall which qualified them for the playoffs but only as a backup team.


The team used their extra time after the competition to perfect their rope climber and correct a few other technical problems, and feels confident about placing well at the upcoming Bridgewater competition. 


Head teacher advisor Peter Ponzio had this to say after the competition. "After making some substantial improvements to the robot between matches at Mt. Olive, our team has a regained confidence and will be ready for a second chance at Bridgewater."