NATICK — The Mount Everett Regional School robotics team — with help from Lenox Memorial Middle and High School — captured its third straight FIRST Tech Challenge (FTC) state title on Saturday.
The Mount Everett Higgs Bots and Team Enginuity from Lenox, were among the 32 Massachusetts high schools competing in the event at Natick High School.
After going undefeated in the opening five rounds, the Higgs Bots were the top seed of the four who qualified for the playoffs, with Team Enginuity finishing 12th. However, FTC competition allows the four qualifiers to pick two teams, forming an alliance for the championship round.
Mount Everett chose second seed Lincoln High School followed by Lenox, led by adult mentor Matt Cote.
"We were more relieved than excited, because we ran into some bad luck earlier," Cote said.
"Our robot wasn't as advanced as Mount Everett's, but advanced enough we thought we could finish in the top eight."
Despite being a second year FTC competitor, Mount Everett mentor Chris Thompson and his students felt Team Enginuity had the right stuff to help win a championship.
"We felt Lenox would work well with us, getting points in the first part of the game," Thompson said.
After sweeping their semi-final match 2-0, Mount Everett, Lenox and Lincoln dropped the first game of the championship before the trio rallied to win games two and three.
All three teams individually advance to the East Super Regional on March 19-21 in Scranton, Pa., part of a 72-team field from Maine to Virginia. The top 25 regional schools move onto the FTC World Championships held in St. Louis in April.
In FTC competition, the robots perform singular tasks, this year it was putting various-sized Wiffle balls into tubes, on a 12-foot by 12-foot playing surface. The robot initially must be able to fit into a 18-inch cubed box, before teams can alter them to the design they want.
"The rule book allows you to add on other pieces," Thompson said. "You can get sheets of metal, sheets of plastic, PVC pipe, which we used."
In addition to the state title, Mount Everett won the award for best overall robot design and was runner up for the Inspire Award given to the best overall high school robotic program in the state.
Contact Dick Lindsay at 413-496-6233