Scotch Plains-Fanwood Robotics took first place in the competition


SCOTCH PLAINS-FANWOOD – Raider Robotics, the 25-member club from the Scotch Plains-Fanwood School District, hosted and entered its second competition on December 12th.

The team ended up in the top half of their competitors, improved their average results from last month’s competition, and increased their placement from 17th to 9th among a total of 45 teams in the NE Edge League.

The competition was part of the 2021-2022 season sponsored by the FIRST Tech Challenge New Jersey. Teams from Bergen, Hudson and Union arrived at the SPFHS with their robots ready to compete in this year’s FTC game Freight Frenzy. During this competition, teams form temporary alliances and compete directly with other alliances in timed navigation of complex transportation barriers to deliver important items to various scoring areas. Raider Robotics has been a club for three years now, but this is the first season that a robot has been built, programmed and competed as a team.

High school raider robotics team coach and event organizer Matthew Ducker Duffy attributed the team’s success to its resilience and community support. “There was tremendous growth and development when we last met,” said Duffy. “Our community, parents, volunteer students, and generous donors have all made invaluable contributions to our club.”

Under the guidance of Trainer Ducker Duffy, a parent helped obtain four grants to support robot teams across the district through Picatinny Arsenal’s STEM outreach program and the Department of Defense (DoD). Additional community contributions included team sweatshirts and event management, which helped the team face any challenge confidentially and seamlessly.

“Not only have our average and high scores improved, but our overall ranking in the league has improved,” said Ducker Duffy. “The jump from 17th to 9th is a big deal for us as it can raise eyebrows and reinforce our changes in forming alliances with other high-profile teams on the road.”

Raider Robotics will have the opportunity to improve their ranking in a January competition before they prepare for the league tournament planned for February. The top ranked teams then have the opportunity to compete in the FTC’s New Jersey State Championship, The Garden State Rumble.

The district also celebrated middle school-level milestones, with both Nettingham Middle School and Terrill Middle School each participating in the FIRST Lego League Challenge.

About Gloria Skelton

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