All three of the Polo Park Middle School robotics teams (16113, 36112 and 44893) qualified for the First Lego League (FLL) regional tournament with strong showings during the qualifying round.
Team coach and STEM teacher David Grad is extremely proud of all three teams and their dedication to the program.
“I am so excited to have all three teams move on to the regionals,” Grad said. “These three teams have been working every day since the beginning of October. The dedication that they have shown is exactly why they are moving on to the regional tournament.”
The robotics club is part of an international program for sixth through eighth graders. The program has three parts: Project, where the team must come up with solutions to challenges that FLL presents; Core Values, where the judges look at how teams work together to solve the problems and how they show good sportsmanship; and Robot Design, which is the actual robot portion where students program and build an EV3 robot to complete missions on a board.
In FLL, the competitions start out with qualifiers, and if a team scores high enough, they move on from there to regionals. Placing at regionals gives a team the chance to then compete in the state tournament, with only one team then advancing to an international competition.
Polo Park team 44893 scored an outstanding 385 points, the highest total of all schools in the qualifier, earning them the Robot Game Award. Both the others also managed to get awards, with team 16113 getting the Robot Design Award and team 36112 grabbing the Judges Award.
Team 16113 earned the highest score of all three Polo Park entries with a combined total of 83, with 37 out of 40 in Robot Design, 19 out of 24 for Core Values and 27 out of 40 for Project. The team members are Eoghan McIvor, Erica Frishberg, Sofia Blanco, John Mueger, Patrick McDermott, Elizabeth Silha, Zachary Elstein, Victor Vasquez, Annabelle Poirrier and Andrew Bueno.
“I am very proud,” Mueger said about moving on to the regionals. “I would be even more proud to move on to states, as we have in past years.”
Team 44893, consisting of team members Alan Trujillo, George Honeycutt, Gabriel Forjan, Vincent Popple, Raul Junco-Suarez, Matt Martinez, Abbie Osuna and Gianna Luiso, scored 80 points, with 34 out of 40 in Robot Design, 20 out of 24 for Core Values and 26 out of 40 for Project.
Trujillo, an eighth grader, is going to compete in his third regional tournament, but the thrill is still as strong as ever. “I feel excited to move on to regionals,” he said. “I have gone to regionals three times in a row, but I am still very excited to go.”
Team 36112 scored 70 points with 27 out of 40 in Robot Design, 18 out of 24 for Core Values and 25 out of 40 for Project. Team members include Demetrios Esopakis, Georgios Esopakis, Giavanna Fioravanti, Bradley Schube, Tyler Sahlbach, Maxx Swisher, Ephrosyni Esopakis and Gabe Marques.
“I’m proud of how much we could accomplish with COVID-19 going on,” eighth grader Georgios Esopakis explained.
— By Annabelle Poirrier