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Marlbots wins robotics Inspire Award

Students who attended the regionals smile for a picture with their robots. Photo courtesy of Marlborough Robotics.
Students who attended the regionals smile for a picture with their robots. Photo courtesy of Marlborough Robotics.

The two Marlborough robotics teams, the Marlbots and Curiosity, have had a successful season with the Marlbots winning the Inspire Award at Interleague on Sunday, Feb. 5, and the Alliance Captain award at Regionals on Sunday, Feb. 26. Captain Niki ’18 also made the Dean’s List and will advance independently to the World Finals in Texas in April.
The Marlbots advanced, winning the Inspire Award for the first time, an all-round award from the FIRST Tech Challenge Robotics League that recognizes the best overall robot.  Judges considered robot design, creativity and strategy as well as the team’s respectfulness in the Interleague competition. After Interleague, the Marlbots won the Alliance Captains category in Regionals, making them one of ten teams to move on to Super-Regionals on Friday, Mar. 10 to Sunday,  Mar. 12.  As an extra honor, Niki won the Dean’s List award at Regionals, winning a cash prize of $250 and advancing on to Worlds in Houston, Texas on Apr. 19 to Apr. 22. Witman recommended Niki for the award.
According to the robotics teachers and science instructors Andrew Witman and Dr. Darren Kessner the team captains, Niki for the Marlbots and Kyra ’19, for Curiosity helped distribute the workload and organize the process of creating a successful design for a robot. With new positions like Community Outreach and Social Media representatives, the team members are able to manage their responsibilities better.

“Over the past three seasons Niki has grown to become a skillful robot builder, a confident leader and a passionate advocate for FIRST robotics and the success of women in STEM fields,” Witman said.
To succeed in the various competitions, the robots must complete the challenges of lifting a yoga ball into a goal, shooting smaller whiffle balls into another goal and pressing targets. In addition to design elements and programming, teams must establish good relationships with other teams, according to Kendall ’19.
“It can be described as robot politics because if you have good relations with other teams, they are much more inclined to pick you for an alliance. When I first joined the team, I thought scouting for alliances was insignificant, but it is imperative when you get in the higher competitions [to choose] alliances,” Kendall said.
The JV team, Curiosity, also won the Think Award in recognition for their in-depth notebook that recorded the process of programming and designing their robot.
As they approach the end of the season, the Marlborough robotics teams have been more successful than previous years, with the rookie team, Curiosity, advancing to Interleague and winning the Think award and veteran team, the Marlbots, winning the highest award, the Inspire, and advancing into super-regionals.
“I’m super excited to get closer with my team and also meet people from all up and down the west coast…I’m excited to see what everyone will bring to the table and what possible new members will bring too,” Marlbot team member Roxy ’19 said.