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JC Robotics Team Dominant in NYC Regional Qualifiers


JC Robotics Team Dominant in NYC Regional Qualifiers

19 February 2018 – New York, NY – The Jamaica College (JC) Robotics team made a smashing start to their 2018 robotics challenge campaign with a dominant performance at this weekend’s FIRST Tech Challenge (FTC) Qualifiers in New York City. The JC contingent, which entered two robots — The Griffins (senior team) and Blue Bots (junior team) — in the two-day qualifying Relic Recovery challenge competition that got underway on Saturday, February 17, were rampant as they racked up victories on their way to separately forming very strong alliances.

On Day 1, both teams got off to rousing beginnings as they marched through their respective matches playing with near flawless execution to advance to the semi-final round, where in an unfortunate luck of the draw saw both teams competing against each other. In the head-to-head decider, it was the senior team (The Griffins) that emerged with the victory advancing to the Finals and securing an automatic berth into the FTC Championship on February 25. The Griffins would eventually suffer a narrow defeat in the Finals on Day 1, though securing the Connect Award as the Captain of the Finalist Alliance. In addition, for their strong showing on Day 1, The Griffins also copped the first runner-up honors for the Inspire Award – the highest and most coveted Award on offer. The junior team (Blue Bots) also secured the Motivate Award for their strong showing on Day 1.

On Day 2, Faculty Advisor – Jason Brown; Programme Manager – Gavin Samuels; Coach – Paul Pounall; and Team Captains – David Smith and Xavier Howell had a difficult decision to make. Should they hold out The Griffins team from competing on Day 2, given that they had already advanced to the FTC Championship, and instead focus their attention on the junior team’s prospects for advancing or do they allow both teams to compete given that each team was desperately in search of some well-needed match practice. They opted for the latter and, on Day 2, both teams were once again thrust into battle – at one stage even fortuitously teaming up in a match-winning alliance. The always resolute junior team, comprised of two second formers (8th graders), one fourth former (10th grader) and two lower-sixth formers (12th graders) accepted the challenge and performed tenaciously to also secure a place in the FTC Championship.

In determining the Inspire Award winner for Day 2, the Judges noted that The Griffins, “performed well in all judging categories and was a model FTC challenge team on and off the playing field – [based on] match performance, observations made during team interviews and in the pit area, the team’s engineering notebook and performance on the playing field.”

Faculty advisor Brown commented, “This is a significant achievement. We had a tough decision to make but, in the end, we believe we did the right thing by allowing both teams to compete on both days and each team proved themselves worthy competitors. Both teams are very inexperienced as we only returned two students from last year’s team, so we are elated that they were able to overcome this hurdle – gain some valuable experience and secure a major accomplishment while having both teams advancing to play in a very tough FTC (NYC) Championship.”

2018 marks the tenth consecutive year that JC Robotics has participated in the FIRST Tech Challenge, where teams are invited to design, build, program, and operate robots to compete in head-to-head challenges in an alliance format. JC Robotics enters the competition as an affiliate of the US-based, Jamaica College Old Boys’ Association of New York (JCOBA-NY), which hosts the team in New York annually and assists in their preparation to compete by providing technical assistance and mobilizing resources.

President of JCOBA-NY, Carl Bennett added, “I was really impressed with the tenacity of both teams but the senior team (The Griffins) really rose to the occasion, demonstrating all of the qualities of our alma mater’s mascot, the Griffin, which combines the symbolic qualities of two solar creatures, the lion and the eagle. The young men displayed the Griffin’s qualities emblematic of strength, boldness, courage, leadership, wisdom, selflessness and excellence – hallmarks that have served Jamaica College well for over 220 years. Fervet Opus in Campis – Work is Burning in the Field.”

The entire team was effusive in acknowledging their sponsors, which include: National Baking Company; the GORE Foundation; Port Authority of Jamaica; HEART Trust/NTA; tTech; Edward Alexander; Jamaica Broilers Group; Mother’s Jamaica; Burger King; Tip Friendly Society; Island Car Rental; JCOBA-NY; Johnny’s Cakes and Chef Patrick Simpson.

In preparation of the upcoming FTC Championship, the teams are expected to consolidate this week, focusing their energy and resources on one robot as they challenge approximately 30 teams for a berth in the FTC Super-Regionals.

This past weekend’s positive outcome has the entire True Blue fraternity brimming with confidence as the team looks to strengthen select design and notebook development elements to further enhance their preparation for their next big test.

About Jamaica College and JCOBA-NY Inc.

Founded in 1795, Jamaica College is a prominent high school in Jamaica with a proud record of service to Jamaican society. Its graduates have an unmatched history of nation-building, creating key Jamaican institutions in politics, civil service, business, culture and social services.

The Jamaica College Old Boys Association of New York is a registered 501(c)3 nonprofit organization, incorporated in the State of New York in 1990. The association supports educational, extracurricular and infrastructure programs at Jamaica College. We inspire students at Jamaica College and throughout Jamaica to become science and technology leaders, by enabling and promulgating STEM & Robotics initiatives. The Jamaica College Old Boys Association of New York also conducts community outreach programs in health, culture and sports in the Northeast USA. Our mission is powered by forging strategic alliances, through project fundraising and by providing technical assistance.

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