The competition was challenging, with several regional champions and a national champion in the field. From the first event, Friarbot performed flawlessly with Conner Burns and Mike Arpa doing the driving. The team finished the qualifying rounds seeded eighth with a record of 8-5. The Friars were ultimately eliminated after a quarterfinal match with the top seed.
The Rutgers event was the second of five Mid-Atlantic Robotics (MAR) district competitions at which teams can earn points to qualify for the Regional Championship to be held in Philadelphia at Temple University on April 13-14. The Friars are currently ranked in the top 25 in the region, with two weeks of competitions remaining, and are therefore "on the bubble" and awaiting word about their spot at Regionals, according to advisor Robert Boyce.
The two-day Rutgers event was titled “Rebound Rumble,” the FIRST version of basketball. An alliance of three robots compete against three other robots to pick up mini basketballs and shot them into hoops at each end of the playing field to score points. Each end of the field had four baskets at different heights for the robots to shoot at and score — with points varying according to each basket’s height. At the end of the match teams could score additional points by balancing one or more robots on one of three “seesaw” bridges at the center of the playing field. See below for video of Friarbot (number 1168) in action.
FIRST is a worldwide program to engage today’s youth in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) initiatives to prepare them for college and university degrees and careers in related technical fields.