At a robotics tournament on Saturday, February 5, Loomis Chaffee’s team, HAX Robotics, won the coveted Inspire Award for the first time in the 14-year history of the program.
The award is the top prize in the FIRST Tech Challenge program and is given to the team that is a strong ambassador for FIRST programs, a role-model team, a top contender for many other judged awards, and a gracious competitor, according to the FIRST website.
HAX Robotics also advanced to the semifinals of the tournament, which was held at the Ethel Walker School in Simsbury, Connecticut. The team ranked fourth in the qualifying rounds of the competition, advancing to the semifinal round and forming an alliance with a team from another competing school. (In the semifinal and final rounds of FIRST Robotics competitions, each side consists of a two-team alliance.) After a series of close matches, Loomis Chaffee’s alliance lost 2-1 to an alliance led by the Hotchkiss School.
Captained by seniors Alexa Becker, Asher Kornfeld, Jay Srivastava, and Andrew Park, the team began working in the fall to design, build, and program a robot that lifts and moves "freight,” whiffle balls and small, weighted cubes, from one area to a designated “shipping hub” in another area of the competition floor.
The team won a tournament earlier this winter to qualify for the state finals, which will take place at Sage Park Middle School in Windsor on February 26.
Pearse Hub for Innovation (PHI) faculty members Ewen Ross and Jen Solomon advise the team.