SM East, SM North, Bishop Miege teams battle before packed house in robotics regionals

Brennan Collahan and Chelle Ferm of SM North ran the controls as their robot competed in its final round Saturday morning.
Brennan Collahan and Chelle Ferm of SM North ran the controls as their robot competed in its final round Saturday morning.

Teams from SM East, SM North and Bishop Miege put their robots to the test Saturday at the Kansas City Regional FIRST Robotics Competition that qualifies teams for the national meet later this year.

The three NEJC teams were among 54 high schools in the three-day competition that culminated in final rounds Saturday afternoon. While both the SM North and SM East teams felt their robots this year were among their best efforts, neither team made the final round, nor did the Miege team. To get into the final round, teams must finish in the top eight or be picked for a team alliance.

“This is definitely one of our better years,” said SM North team member Brennan Collahan. “We’ve learned a lot (during the competition),” added Chelle Ferm. SM East team members also thought they had a good shot at the finals after the Saturday morning rounds.

Teams are able to start working on their robots in early January after the national kits arrive, but begin prepping weeks earlier. Each team must raised about $5,000 to purchase the standard kit and assemble a robot to handle the challenge, which changes from year to year. This year robots had to be able to stack containers, among other tasks. In previous years, competition called for robots to throw a ball through a target.

The teams each have a pit area to make modifications and repairs during the three-day tournament that plays out before a packed house of thousands – including lots of college recruiters – at a Metropolitan Community College venue.

A few of the SM East team members with their robot back in the pits.
A few of the SM East team members – Gabi Case, Sam Vest, Carter Stolberg, Alex Galicia, Michael Paskin and Tommy Crow – with their robot back in the pits.