READY FOR BATTLE — Members of the 2015-16 local RoboSpartans robotics team, which launched its sixth competition season on Saturday, from left: Ryan Payne, Douglas Hotvedt, Daniel Michaels, Timothy Ha, Gwyneth LaMarche, Kevin Valete, Matthew Strachen, and Oscar Klempay. (Photo submitted)

RoboSpartans prep for new season of competition

Published Dec 15, 2015 at 4:00pm

The RoboSpartans robotics team, including students from the New Hartford and Utica school districts plus home schoolers, began its sixth season by winning the two top prizes at the Sauquoit Robotics Qualifier on Sunday, coaches Bob and Lisa Payne said.

The event was for the newly formed FIRST (For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology) TECH Challenge Excelsior Region, according to the announcement.

The team won the Inspire Award, FIRST Tech Challenge’s trophy for the team that embodies the “challenge”, excels in all judged areas and acts as an ambassador for the FIRST program, the announcement said. The RoboSpartans also were Winning Alliance Captains with the highest score of the day in the first match of the semi-finals.

Paired with the Saratoga County Robotics Robovines and Niskayuna High School’s Warriors, the team fought through two close finals matches against the Precision Cut-Ups of Tully, Girl Scouts NY Penn Pathways Error404, and Lansing’s Robocats.

All six teams won invitations to the Excelsior Championship on Jan. 17 in the SUNY Polytechnic Institute Field House.

In addition, two RoboSpartan members, Gwyneth LaMarche and Daniel Michaels of New Hartford, were named as “Dean’s List” semi-finalists. Named after FIRST Founder Dean Kamen and supported by the Kamen family, the list recognizes high school freshmen and juniors who demonstrate outstanding leadership skills and a passion for promoting STEM (science, technology, engineering, math) in their community, the announcement said. LaMarche and Michaels are in line to be considered as finalists representing the Excelsior Region at a world championship event in St. Louis, Mo. in April 2016.

The RoboSpartans’ next tournament is Saturday at St. John Fisher College in Rochester.