East cleans up with robotics awards

East cleans up with robotics awards

Cherry Hill High School East’s robotics teams have a lot to be proud of.

Over the course of the VEX robotics competitions that were held throughout New Jersey from November through March, the combined wins for all three of East’s robotics teams include four tournament champion awards, two excellence awards, one judges’ award and one build award.

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The excitement surrounding the success of the club has made it possible to launch a fourth team, Droid (2616D), just in time to have one more team represent East at the NJ VEX State Championship in East Brunswick.

The program that started with just two students has grown to an after school club with more than 25 members.

In what could be described as an epic battle, Black Tie Robotics (2616B) brought home the title NJ VEX State Champion on March 3. The winning (blue) alliance was comprised of Alliance Captain Team 677 (Montclair), Team 169D (Haverford, Pa.) and Team 2616B (Cherry Hill East).

It was a tough battle to the finish in a best out of three match. Black Tie Robotics’ alliance had to unseat the opposing (red) alliance that included fellow East team, Army of Two (2616), which held the title for the past two years.

With the first match going to the blue alliance by a single point, and the second match going to the red alliance by a single point, the final match was indeed very exciting to watch. The win speaks well for the continued success of robotics at East, since Black Tie Robotics will be taking on the mantle of leadership upon graduation of the club founders, Aaron Sirken and Brendon Rush — aka the Army of Two.

The Army of Two was recognized by the state championship judges with the build award which “is given to a team that has built a well-crafted and constructed robot” that also has “a professional feel and quality look to them, with clear attention to detail in construction, efficient use of mechanical and electronic components and reliability on the competition field.”

This is especially meaningful and high praise for the two seniors who will both be pursuing degrees in mechanical engineering.

Calcifer, (2616C), was selected to be on the third-seed alliance and successfully battled all the way to the semi-final position before being eliminated. Just the week before, at the Feb. 25 tournament in Tinton Falls, Calcifer was on the winning alliance (with the Army of Two) and earned the tournament champion award, qualifying them for the national championship (which conflicts with the senior class trip). At several competitions, judges have been very impressed by the quality of the engineering notebook and interview skills of Calcifer’s members.

The rookie team, Droid (2616D), made an outstanding debut, winning several matches, despite having only finished the robot the day before. All three teams, 2616, 2616B and 2616C, exhibited incredible teamwork and school spirit in helping to get the fledgling team ready in time to enter the final local tournament of the season. All of the students are grateful to Joseph Dilks for offering a lot of extended club time every day for the past several weeks, especially since he had to provide this extra coverage by himself during the maternity leave of his co-adviser, Bethany Lau.

Even though local tournaments have concluded, Cherry Hill East robotics teams are not done for the season.

The Army of Two (2616) and Black Tie Robotics (2616B) teams have earned two of the seven spots that will represent New Jersey at the VEX Robotics World Championship to be held April 19–21 in Anaheim, Calif.

This 320-team competition includes top teams from America, Canada, China, Japan, Malaysia, Brazil, Puerto Rico, Mexico and New Zealand.

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