Staples Robotics Emerges Victorious in World Championship

Staples Robotics Emerges Victorious in World Championship

Staples' Robotics Team, shown left to right: Erin Gandleman '14, Dylan Roncati '14, Haris Durrani '11, Mrinal Kumar '14, and Alec Solder '14. Not pictured: John Solder '12 and Timothy Yang '11. Photo courtesy of Mrinal Kumar '14.

Last Tuesday afternoon and into Wednesday morning, students from Staples’ Robotics team boarded their flights to St. Louis, Mo., in order to take part in the First Tech Challenge (FTC) world championship.

Tonight, after two years of finishing second and third, these students are boarding their return flight to Westport—bringing with them their first ever world championship trophy.

“It’s especially good for our seniors,” team member Mrinal Kumar ’14 said. “This was their final shot, and our team won the whole thing.”

This year, the world championship was held in Edward Jones Dome, home of the St. Louis Rams, and played host to a guest appearance from Black Eyed Peas member Will I. Am.

However, the all-star venue was not the highlight of the evening. 128 teams from all across the world gathered to compete, splitting into two 64-team divisions.

By the end of seven qualifying rounds, the four top teams from each division were selected, and Staples was not one of them.

But it all worked out for the Wreckers in the end, as team No. 178 from Montana chose Staples as one of their two alliances to help them in the final post-tournament rounds. When Staples encountered its last chance, the team advanced through two rounds of play to take the top spot in their division and play the other division’s champ in the final round.

Needless to say, the Wreckers left victorious with their 49-34 triumph, bringing home a championship trophy for Haris Durrani ’11, Tim Yang ’11, John Solder ’12, Alec Solder ’14, Erin Gandelman ’14, Dylan Roncati ’14, and Kumar.

“This organization is a great way to get introduced to robotics,” Kumar said. “It’s not often that a team with this many freshmen can have this much success.”