BRIDGEWATER, NJ - The Watchung Hills robotics team, also known as Team 41 RoboWarriors, had a strong performance advancing to the semifinals at its second competition of the season in Bridgewater this past weekend.
In a thrilling best of three quarterfinal matchup, the RoboWarriors’ alliance won in the tiebreaker match to move on to the semifinals. They competed well in their final two semifinal matches but it wasn’t quite enough for the win.
The RoboWarriors were one of 37 teams from New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Delaware, and Connecticut competing in Bridgewater.
In this year’s competition, titled FIRST Steamworks, the team alliances of 3 robots prepare a steam powered airship for takeoff. Each robot does basically 3 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 5 feet up a rope to be on the airship when it takes off.
On the first day of competition, Team 41 competed well but had various technical issues to overcome, and ended the day winning only two of their nine qualification matches.
On the positive side, as the day went on they fine-tuned their robot so that it could climb the rope consistently, a key factor in winning matches.
As a result, on Day 2 of the competition, they won two of their three matches and ended the qualification rounds on a strong note.
They were then able to advance to the playoffs where they teamed up in their alliance with The Gearheads from Somerville and Cougar Robotics from Skillman.
This was the second of their two district competitions, with the first having been in Mt. Olive last weekend. They narrowly missed making the playoffs in Mt. Olive, so this Bridgewater event was a big improvement for Team 41. They will find out in the next two weeks if they have qualified to move on to the larger regional competition at Lehigh University on April 5 - 8.
For more on Mt. Olive