This past weekend Bensalem High School’s Robotics Team, The Fightin’ Robotic Owls, competed at the FIRST Robotics Mid-Atlantic District Championship at Lehigh University where they finished 3rd out of 61 teams and qualified for the FIRST Robotics World Championships in St. Louis, Missouri. They also took home the Quality Award for the second time this season and the Industrial Safety Award for the third time this season. Says Junior and Lead Safety Engineer James Kane, “As a team, we have worked hard to develop a robust safety program so going into the season I thought we might win one safety award, but I am pumped that I was wrong. Winning three and getting to compete for a fourth at World Championships is absolutely amazing!”
The Owls, who were ranked 9th in the Mid-Atlantic Region, were excited to qualify for District Championships at Lehigh University but knew they would be facing some fierce competition, going up against some of the top teams in the region. After their first few matches, they were in 38th place but quickly flew up to 3rd place by the end of qualification matches. Says Junior and robot drive team member Pranav Patel, “Looking at the first week of the season and then District Championships, the whole game changed. Teams are scoring more points than ever and the competition at Worlds will be tougher than ever because we will be competing against some of the top teams in the world and a lot of them will have a different approach to the game that we haven’t seen before.”
While the Owls qualified for World Championships, there’s no guarantee they will be able to go. Between registration fees and travel costs, this will cost the team upwards of $20,000. Says sophomore Katherine Matveykina “District Championships has been unlike any other competition and has made me so much prouder of what we have done as a team and what I have done for it. I am excited that we’ve qualified for World Championships for the second year in a row, because it’s a great opportunity to show off our team, our school and our robot to the world. I just hope we raise the necessary funds in time to go.”
The team has set up a Go Fund Me to help them raise the money they need and they are also reaching out to local business and community leaders for assistance. For more information about the team, please visit their website at www.team5401.org.