WHRHS Robotics Team Alliance Takes Close Second Place in Mt. Olive Competition

WHRHS Robotics Team Alliance Takes Close Second Place in Mt. Olive Competition Credits: Sharon Sheridan Hausman


WARREN, NJ - The WHRHS Robotics Team, the RoboWarriors, in their three-team alliance, placed second in the FIRST Robotics Mid-Atlantic Mt. Olive Event on March 5 and 6.  Individually, the team placed 17 out of 39 teams representing local New Jersey and Pennsylvania area high schools.

FIRST, which stands for “For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology,” is a not-for-profit charity organization based in Manchester New Hampshire founded in 1989 to inspire young people’s interest and participation in science and technology. The FIRST Robotics Competition (FRC) is one of several programs run by FIRST. FRC, dubbed a “varsity sport for the mind,” combines the excitement of sport with the rigors of science and technology. Under strict rules, limited resources, and time limits, teams of 25 students or more are challenged to raise funds, design a team “brand,” hone teamwork skills, and build and program a robot to perform prescribed tasks against a field of competitors. It is as close to “real world” engineering as a student can get. 

Professional mentors volunteer their time and talents to guide each team.

Sign Up for E-News

FRC designs a new and unique robotics challenge each year. The challenge is released in early January, and teams have six weeks to design and build a robot customized for the specific challenge. This six week period is referred to as “build season.” After the six week build season, teams participate in one or more district qualifying competitions. Based on their performance, a team may qualify to progress to the regional competition, and then to the championship in St. Louis in late April. 

For 2016, there are over 3100 FRC teams overall, with more than 78,000 students participating.

The WHRHS RoboWarriors Robotics Team, called Team 41 within the FRC competition, was one of the first schools to join FRC in the late 1990’s. The team consists of approximately 50 WHRHS students, four faculty advisors, and two industry mentors/advisors. Team 41 is organized into multiple sub-teams, based on their specialties. The sub-teams are the Mechanical, Electrical, Coding, and Design teams. During build season, the team enthusiastically works many hours, often until 9 p.m. on weeknights and all day on Saturdays. The team is entirely self-taught, with the older experienced students training new members as they join. The industry mentors make it a point not to give the students answers, but rather to encourage critical thinking about pros and cons of approaches to the challenge and to ensure that the students themselves design and build the robot.


The team is sponsored by many organizations including Picatinny Arsenal which provides generous monetary support, and The Knotts Company which donates metal stock and connectors to build the robot frame. Team 41 is also supported by the Watchung Hills Education and Technology Foundation (WHEAT), which is a non-profit specifically designed to support the team. It is comprised primarily of parents of team members and provides financial and logistical support as well as any other assistance that might be needed. 


In this year’s competition, called FIRST Stronghold, there is a medieval theme in which Alliances of three teams are on a Quest to score points bybreaching their opponents’ defenses (porticullises, moats, and drawbridges) and then shooting or rolling boulders through goals in the opposing team’s tower. In the final 20 seconds of the Quest, the robots may surround and scale the opposing tower to capture it for additional points. This year’s challenge (like most) emphasizes cooperation between the different teams. Since the alliances are rotated for each match, individual teams must cooperate with all of their competitors. Any team that is not able to work well with the others is unlikely to advance. In addition, by coordinating strategy with the other team members within their alliance, a team can take maximum advantage of its strengths and mitigate its weaknesses.

In the Mt. Olive competition, the Team 41 RoboWarriors had a solid showing in the qualifying portion of the competition. They were selected for the playoff portion of the competition, and moved on with wins in their quarterfinal and semifinal matches. The finals match went to a tie-breaker and the Team 41 three-team alliance barely lost in a heartbreaker by a score of 135 – 128 to place second in the competition. 


The next event is another district qualifying competition in Montgomery, NJ on April 9 and 10. There are 37 teams scheduled to compete at this event. If the team has another strong performance, they will likely advance to the Mid-Atlantic Robotics District Championship Competition to be held at Lehigh University in Bethlehem, PA. Placing in the top nine at Lehigh will lead to inclusion in the FIRST World Championship on April 27-30 in St. Louis, MO.


◦ Back Row (Left to Right): Peter Ponzio (faculty adviser), Joshua Schmidt, Matthew Battipaglia, Brandon Harris, Julian Bisci, Oscar Johansson, Griffith Humphrey, Sameer Howe, John O'Mullan, Anthony Rodrigues, Sean Coleman, Emanuel Savatta, BurcakCoskun, Joshua Gallic, Tyler Kocmond, Matthew Guo, Garrett Dicken (industry mentor)
◦ Front Row (Left to Right): Jonathan Soldan, Prateek Humane, Julian Lioanag, Neelay Trivedi, Giovanni Savatta, Claire Barrameda, David Schlingloff, Eva Teplitsky, Nicole Regimbal, Derek Prestera






TAP Into Another Town's News:

You May Also Be Interested In

Sign Up for E-News


A Celebration of Black History- Honoring the Past, Inspiring the Future in North Plainfield

February 23, 2018

Councilwoman Keiona R. Miller will host the 2nd Annual North Plainfield Community Black History Month Event: ‘A Celebration of Black History.’

KEYNOTE SPEAKER:  The Honorable Ronald L.  Rice, New Jersey State Senator and Chair of the New Jersey State Legislative Black Caucus.


Parkland Moms Club Seeks Cards for Teachers and First Responders

In less then 24 hours, the Parkland Moms Club put a card making event together at the park next to the amphitheater which has turned into a massive memorial. Kids from infants to 5th graders helped create cards for teachers, first responders, and hospital workers.  Paulina Splechta donated her amazing photography skills and sent us tons and tons of pictures. No matter your age, there is a ...

Upcoming Events


Sun, February 25, 10:00 AM

Camp Riverbend, Warren

Camp Riverbend Open House


Sun, February 25, 4:00 PM

North Plainfield

A Celebration of Black History- Honoring the ...


Mon, March 5, 7:00 PM

BRHS Auditorium, Bridgewater

Dangers of Fentanyl

Education Health & Wellness


South Plainfield – Joanne Gallo, 68, of Palm Beach Gardens, FL and Warren, NJ, passed away ...
Read more

Parkland Strong and Proud

February 22, 2018

I want to share some thoughts with you.

I have not been posting on social media, although I have been constantly reading your posts so that I can represent you through this sad time. What our community has been saying is inspirational and has helped me cope through these “more than” trying times.

Special thanks to my fellow Parkland, Coral Springs, Broward Commissioners and ...

Low-Income Families Who Need Safe Cribs Have Nowhere to Go

One recent email came from a pastor in East Orange, sharing the struggles of a young couple who have no safe place for their baby to sleep.

Then, there was also a phone call from a Newark hospital, making its fourth request in two years, as well as a frantic text from Puerto Rico, for a family who lost everything in the hurricane.

They all pleaded for the same thing: A safe crib for a ...

WHRHS Girls Basketball: Watchung Hills Tops East Orange, 44-40

February 12, 2018

EAST ORANGE, NJ - Julia Cunningham recorded a double-double for Watchung Hills with 21 points, 16 rebounds, two assists, two steals and one block to lead the Watchung Hills girls basketball team over East Orange on Monday, 44-40. 

Jayden Baltuch finished with seven points, four assists and one rebound. 

Watchung Hills is now 19-1 on the season and next plays at Newark ...

Workshop Examines Sexual Harassment in the Workplace

February 22, 2018

BEDMINSTER, NJ – The Somerset County Business Partnership and The Center for Contemporary Art will host a “Business Builders Breakfast” and workshop focused on sexual harassment in the workplace on Tuesday, Feb. 27 beginning at 8 a.m. at The Center for Contemporary Art, 2020 Burnt Mills Road.

The 90-minute event, “Sexual Harassment & Rules of the Modern ...

Watchung Appoints New Council Member

WATCHUNG, NJ - The Watchung Borough Town Council appointed Maria Alberto to fill the unexpired portion of Debra Joren’s term at the last meeting. The term expires at the end of 2018.

Joren retired earlier this year and due to the Public Employees' Retirement System (PERS) was required to resign from any public office within six ...

Somerville Merchants Endorse Plan to Reduce Parking Lot Fees

SOMERVILLE, NJ – The Borough’s controversial parking fees are set to undergo another revision, with hourly parking reduced from 75 to 50 cents in municipal lots 1,2,4 and 6, according to a merchant-driven plan endorsed by Mayor Ellen Brain.

The $1 hourly rate for parking on Main Street will remain the same, according to the mayor.

The hours of enforcement will also be changed to ...

Somerset County Preparing for Construction of Finderne Avenue Bridge, Beginning Feb. 20

BRIDGEWATER, NJ - The Finderne Avenue bridge, between Union Avenue and Foothill Road, will be under construction from Feb. 20 for about nine months, according to a release from Somerset County.

The bridge will be constructed in three separate stages, with one lane northbound and one lane southbound being maintained, aside from intermittent single-day closures as required. In addition, ...

EarthCam Shares Live Webcam Views of Seaside Heights Polar Bear Plunge

February 23, 2018

If you saw our article, you know about the Polar Bear Plunge this Saturday to support the Special Olympics.  If you cannot be there, but want to see the festivities, this press release tells you how you can.

WHAT: February 24 from 9am-1pm ET, thousands of people will make a mad dash into the cold waters of the Atlantic Ocean just off the coast of Seaside Heights, NJ…and ...

Travels Idea - You Feel Like Freezing Your Beachballs Off this Saturday? - It’s a Polar Bear Plunge Benefiting the Special Olympics New Jersey

SEASIDE HEIGHTS, NJ - On Saturday, Feb 24, an anticipated 7,000 people will brave the chilly waters of the Atlantic Ocean, participating in the annual Polar Bear Plunge in Seaside Heights, all to raise funds and awareness for Special Olympics New Jersey. This Plunge is especially noteworthy because it is the 25th anniversary.

Two ...

From the New York Toy Fair - Travels Reveals the Toys That Will Make You the Star of Your Child’s Life - the Oscars of the Toy World - the TOTY Awards

 As you know, we are here to encourage you to travel.  Unfortunately, the New York Toy Fair is one place virtually none of you can go.  So, unless you have been tirelessly been searching the internet, you are not up to date on what toys your children will be wanting soon.

Fortunately, with Press Correspondent credentials, we were able to go in your place.

Our ...

Travels Idea - You Feel Like Freezing Your Beachballs Off this Saturday? - It’s a Polar Bear Plunge Benefiting the Special Olympics New Jersey

February 22, 2018

SEASIDE HEIGHTS, NJ - On Saturday, Feb 24, an anticipated 7,000 people will brave the chilly waters of the Atlantic Ocean, participating in the annual Polar Bear Plunge in Seaside Heights, all to raise funds and awareness for Special Olympics New Jersey. This Plunge is especially noteworthy because it is the 25th anniversary.

Two ...

Coast Guard Ends Search for Fishermen Lost at Sea, Fund Established to Help Family

The U.S. Coast Guard has officially ended its search for the two crew members of the fishing boat that went missing off the coast of Barnegat Light during the early morning hours of February 8.  

“We would like to extend our condolences to the families and the fishing community affected by this tragic incident,” said Capt. Scott Anderson, commander of the Coast Guard's ...

Third Annual Long Beach Island Job Fair Set for Saturday, March 31

SURF CITY, NJ - Need a job this summer? Look no further. Shore Fire Grille again has teamed up with local businesses in the area for a special summer 2018 Job Fair event. 

The Third Annual LBI Job Fair will take place Saturday, March 31.  Employers will be looking to hire help for the summer season on busy Long Beach Island.  The event will be held at the Surf City Yacht ...

Guest Column: The Great "Wait" of the College Process

February 14, 2018

"The Great Wait" of the College Application Process

For all the high school seniors and their parents, we are in the stressful "waiting period".  We've just finished or are finishing applications to all the schools we might possibly want to attend next year and now sit and wait our fate after the $60-$80 non-refundable application fees to at least 8-13 schools and ...

'What Stays' exposes family secrets and lies

‘What Stays’ exposes family secrets, resentment and lies

By Liz Keill

SUMMIT, NJ – In an original play by Laura Ekstrand and Jason Szamreta, the Dreamcatcher Repertory Theatre has provided an enlightening, funny and heart-felt view of family foibles.

Ekstrand has said that the germ of the play came from conversations with the ensemble members of the troupe, based on ...