The annual FIRST Robotics competition is quickly approaching, and Northport High School’s Team 5099 is feeling ready to go. While the competition, which begins Thursday, March 23 at Hofstra University, is important, students and staff emphasized that the real win comes in the form of friendships, networking and a sense of accomplishment from the entire experience.
On the final day of the build, members of the team gathered to finish the final touches on their robot. The team is led by advisors and technology teachers Bill Claps, Ed Moloney and Greg Robinson who oversee the students and provide guidance throughout the robotics season. They are joined by mentors which includes parents and local community members with experience in engineering and robotics. In total, the season lasts approximately six to eight weeks, and includes countless hours and Saturday sessions to get competition ready.
Team captain Todd Petry emphasized that last year’s competition was following a hiatus due to the pandemic, so this year was really about “getting back into pace.” He also shared that fellow team members Carter Mooers and Hunter Rumpel take welding courses, giving them an edge up in the competition. “In terms of the robot, we utilized welding this year. That’s not something many schools can do because not many people know welding,” Todd said.
Each year, the competitions rules and the robot’s functions change, ensuring students have to consider fresh ideas to meet the challenge. The 2023 challenge is “ENERGIZE”, encouraging students to “reimagine the future of sustainable energy and power their ideas forward.” The robot also has parameters around size and weight that must be taken into consideration.
Beyond the construction of the robot, students showed a real appreciation for the comradery that being a member of the team brings and the connections made through the contest. Todd added “Number one, it’s going to be a lot of fun. Not only are we with teams from Long Island but around the world, too. Just talking with them, networking, maybe we can make plans with them in the future.”
“Of course, we want to do as best as we can, but it’s also a big learning experience. Just the whole build season in general – it’s all about learning,” he added.
The competition will take place over three days with a series of a competition rounds. The winner will ultimately advance to a regional competition.
The full team includes Caleb Belanger, William Chambers, Nick Churaman, Veronica Flick, Robert Germani, Brendan Gorman, Tyler Hradek, Ryan Kattau, Peter Kucza, Eduardo Lopez, Carter Mooers, Erik Oderwald, Todd Petry, Cole Rumpel, Hunter Rumpel, Adam Sweeney, and Luke Tuthill. A special thank you to team mentors Craig Moores, John Posillico, John Farrell and Tom Hradek as well for their support and guidance.
The team is sponsored by AriZona Beverage Co., Plastipak Packaging Inc., the Northport-East Northport School District, Bren-Tronics Inc., General Fibre Products Corp., The Sterling Wealth Group LLC, Robert P. Brady Agency, Mario’s Pizzeria East Northport, Animign Productions, Inc., Country Beer and Beverage Barn, Errol & Gaindawatie Churaman, The Claps Family, The Germani Family, Kenneth & Susan Krasniewski, The Gorman Family and The Ed Moloney Family.