Harvey Robotics Teams Qualify for Worlds, Win Major Awards
Two teams of Harvey’s RoboCavs have punched their tickets to travel to Texas and compete in the Worlds robotics competition next month in Dallas. Harvey teams 6277C and 6277B earned their bids with outstanding performances Sunday, March 5, in the Southern New York State Robotics Championships hosted by Harvey. Each team also won major tournament awards – 6277C, the Design Award and 6277B, the Build Award. Sixty-seven teams from schools ranging from Albany to Long Island, including five from Harvey, participated in the tournament held in Harvey’s Fenstermacher Athletic Center.
In winning the Design Award, Katie McCulloch ‘24, Meaghan Sullivan ‘25,and Logan Alexander ’25 of team 6277C were judged to have the best design process, interview, and engineering journal. “This is an award they had earned four times during the year at other competitions,” said Harvey coach John Wahlers, “but this is the big one,” he added.
In receiving the Build Award, Blake Friedman ‘24 and Ben Zilberstein ’25 of team 6277B were recognized for having the robot that was the best built, most durable, and most consistent in performance. “Team 6277B has earned Build Award recognition at multiple events throughout the season,” stated Harvey robotics director and coach Chris Kelly, who added, ”Their award is well deserved.”
Teams 6277E with Eli Birch ‘23, Alex Rynott ‘23, and Julian Marin ‘24 had a great tournament and were in the top 3 for most of the day. “After qualifications, Eli, Alex, and Julian were in a great position to contend for the championship,” said Coach Wahlers. They chose their fellow RoboCavs, Lucas Ruiz-Vicente ‘23, Alex Conoscente ‘24, and Matias Sin ’24 from 6277A, as their Alliance partners for their elimination run. They were knocked out in the round of 16, however. “It would have been great to see them go deeper into eliminations,” said Coach Kelly, “but they still had a great tournament run.”
Team 6277D, a solo team with a robot built, coded, and driven by senior Aden Yankwitt, did not make it into the elimination rounds. “Most teams have three or more members, so competing as a single at events is not easy business,” said Coach Kelly, who has been impressed by Aden’s work. “He is a builder and a mechanic at heart - seeing him write effective computer code and for his flywheel, drivetrain, and pneumatic system was cool.”
Beyond the knowledge and experience the students accrue in the field of robotics, Harvey’s two coaches say the robotics tournaments offer so much more. “These competitions serve as an incredible outlet for the student’s creativity and competitive spirit,” said Coach Wahlers, adding, “Our students learn skills that are used to create robots that perform tasks such as exploring inaccessible areas, assisting people with disabilities, and automating dangerous jobs.”
Coach Kelly said, “The competition is really fun for the kids and for us, but the important takeaways are critical life skills. They are learning goal-setting, perseverance, teamwork, time management, leadership, and above all else sportsmanship. I have said it before because I mean it with all my heart - it is one of the great privileges of my educational career to have the opportunity to work with our Harvey students.”
When Harvey’s 6277B and 6277C teams go to Dallas April 25-27, they will compete against the best of the best from countries like China, Canada, Mexico, Japan, Australia, South Korea, Kazakhstan, Paraguay, Philippines, Spain, Taiwan, Puerto Rico, New Zealand, Singapore, Finland, Nigeria, and Uganda.