Local robotics teams battled for awards and the chance to advance to the world championships last month at this year’s regional competition at Hofstra University.
The 19th annual Long Island Regional FIRST Robotics Competition attracted nearly 80 teams, ages 14-18, that were challenged to build 120-pound robots from a kit of parts.
This year’s theme, “First Power Up,” had three-team alliances scoring points by delivering power cubes to their vault, gaining ownership of a scale or switch and climbing a scale.
Long Island teams that qualified for the FIRST World Championships in Detroit, which were held on April 25-28, were: Sachem Aftershock of Ronkonkoma (Team No. 263), Red Dragons of Plainedge (Team No. 527), The PSIcotics of Lindenhurst (Team No. 533), The Mechanical Bulls of Smithtown (Team No. 810), Team R.I.C.E. of Southold (Team No. 870), Hicksville J-Birds (Team No. 1468), Rebels of Great Neck (Team No. 2638), Regal Eagles of Bethpage (Team No. 2869), Hurricanes of Westhampton Beach (Team No. 3171), RoboGym Robotics of Glen Head (Team No. 3950), Huntington Robotics (Team No. 5016) and Mineola Wild Reds (Team No. 6806).
Three other teams — Mohawks of Medford (Team No. 329), ThunderColts of Huntington Station (Team No. 3624) and Infernobotix of Center Moriches (Team No. 4458) — qualified through separate events.
At the world championships, the Real Eagles of Bethpage were part of the Championship Subdivision Winner alliance, while the ThunderColts of Huntington Station won the Creativity Award.
In addition, the following Nassau County teams won awards at the regional competition: Hicksville J-Birds, Regional Finalist and Wildcard awards; Rebels of Great Neck, Regional Finalist, Entrepreneurship and Wildcard awards; Regal Eagles of Bethpage, Regional Engineering Inspiration Award; CyberCats of Old Westbury (Team No. 2872), Industrial Design Award; RoboGym Robotics of Glen Head, Team Spirit Award; Mustangs of Syosset (Team No. 6746), Imagery Award; and Mineola Wild Reds, Highest Rookie Seed, Rookie Inspiration and Rookie All-Star awards.
FIRST stands for “For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology.”
An 11-student team from Glen Cove High School placed first and won $5,000 in a poster contest that was part of Northwell Health’s 4th Annual SPARK! Challenge, a program in which students visit Northwell Health facilities to learn about health care careers and vie in poster and oral competitions based on what they observed.
This is the second consecutive year that Glen Cove won the competition.
Other winners included teams from Plainview-Old Bethpage JFK High School, Sacred Heart Academy in Hempstead and Valley Stream Central High School, which each won $2,000 for their presentations.
This year, about 600 students from 32 local schools participated in the program, with awards given last month at the Cradle of Aviation Museum in Garden City.
Seven Long Island students are among 1,000 high school seniors nationwide named recipients of corporate-sponsored scholarships through the National Merit Scholarship Corp.
The scholarships range from single payments of between $2,500 and $5,000 to annual stipends of up to $10,000 that are renewable for up to four years of undergraduate study.
Winners are: Luigia Than, Earl L. Vandermeulen High School, Port Jefferson; Julia Kim and Rebecca Muratore, Paul D. Schreiber High School, Port Washington; Jade Pinkenburg, Rocky Point High School; Joshua Joseph and Kentaro Matsushima, Walt Whitman High School, Huntington Station; Mahon Walsh, St. Anthony’s High School, South Huntington; and Anton de Lesseps, of Huntington, who attends The Hotchkiss School in Connecticut.
— MICHAEL R. EBERT