Members of Harvey’s Middle School robotics team got their first taste of high stakes competition Saturday, March 4, when they competed in the Southern New York State VEX Robotics Tournament in Massapequa. Having qualified for the state tournament with an impressive performance in the regionals in February, the Middle School RoboCavs were one of 21 teams battling for a shot at winning the title in Massapequa.
Sixth-grader Clayton Collum and seventh-grader Wendy Lichtenburg, the duo who had performed well in last month’s regional qualifier, welcomed sixth-grader Spencer Whitman to the team to participate in the state tournament over the weekend. They competed in five separate preliminary rounds, taking turns at the controls of their robot. A solid performance in the preliminary rounds earned them a spot to compete in the tournament finals.
The Harvey team was in the hunt for the tournament championship but they lost their chance for first place when they failed to balance the bridge and get the bonus points which would have propelled them to a victory. In the end, the Harvey team finished fifth overall.
“It was an excellent showing for our first-year team,” said Harvey robotics coach Sam Schursky.“I am very proud of all our participants during the season. At every match we went to, we qualified for the finals, usually making the top six. This success while competing with schools with many more years of experience and many more students competing was more than we could have hoped for.”
Mr. Schursky, a science teacher who coaches robotics with his colleague, math teacher Dave Ketner, says the future looks bright for Harvey’s Middle School robotics program. “Mr. Ketner and I look forward to next year when the prospects of a larger team, more experience and a new competition format await us.”
Meanwhile, the Upper School team of seniors Jarrod Waner and Ryan Hurst, one of five Harvey teams eligible to compete in the state tournament, placed second overall in the high school division and earned an invitation to compete in the VEX Robotics World Competition in Louisville, Kentucky April 19-22. A total of five Upper School teams have qualified for the CREATE U.S Open in Council Bluffs, Iowa April 6-8.