Ligerbots dominate competition at the Boston regional FIRST tournament

By Morgan Seiler
Published: March 2009

The Ligerbots, North and South’s robotics team, placed ninth out of 53 teams at the FIRST FRC Boston Regional robotics competition that took place from March 5 to 7 at Boston University’s Agganis Arena. The team scored highest out of all the rookie teams, winning the Rookie Seed and Rookie Allstar awards.

“I didn’t expect to get any awards. I thought that we would do well but not that well. We were the leader of one of the alliances in the final round, junior and Ligerbot co-captain Jeremy Perlman said.

Robotics team coach Jordan Kraus felt that “good students, good coaches, good mentors, and a certain amount of luck allowed the Ligerbots to outshine its competitors. Other faculty deeply involved in encouraging the team’s success were coaches Chuck Hurwitz, Greg Poulos, and Tim Stephens.

Winning the Rookie Allstar award, an award to “recognize outstanding achievement by a first year team according to the competition’s website, proved to be difficult.

“[It involved judgment on] team spirit, artistic design, business plan, your community outreach¦and doing our best to advance Science and Technology, Kraus said.

During this year’s competition, robots were judged by their performance in a game called Lunacy. Robots in “alliances of three went head to head two at a time in a rectangular arena. Each team starts with 20 balls, referred to as “Moon Rocks. During the two minutes and fifteen second time limit, robots attempt to shoot as many balls as possible into the opponent robots’ trailer while protecting their own.

The Ligerbots’ quick-moving robot could collect the Moon Rocks, send them up an Archimedes screw type apparatus, and launch them out.

Kraus felt that, besides the construction of the robot, getting the whole thing started was one of the team’s greatest challenges. Once the time commitment weeded people out, however, leaders emerged, and the team developed from the remaining people.

“The sense of camaraderie and common purpose kept everyone coming back, Kraus said. She, speaking for the team, finds the challenges ahead overwhelming but still exciting.

The team’s next challenge will be a Regional Competition that will take place over the next few days in Hartford. Winning the Rookie Allstar award also earned the team a place in the National Championship in Atlanta in mid-April break. Some plans for post-season events are also in the works.

“Now we meet approximately one time per week, Perlman said. “We need to get the money to represent Newton in Nationals.

At the beginning of the year, the team met every Monday from the end of the school day to 4:30, switching locations between North and South. Wednesday meetings were team building meetings where the team would learn from past competitions. The team would use Thursdays as business meetings, spending their time obtaining funds for the team.

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