Mamaroneck Takes 1st Place for Robot Design in NY Excelsior FIRST Tech Regional Challenge

Though Mamaroneck High School Robotics students came up short in qualifying for States at the FTC Excelsior Regional Qualification Event in January at Peekskill High School, they won 1st Place for their robot design (and 5th Place overall) among 21 high school teams from across the Hudson Valley. The students, who had been working on the robot since September, were responsible for creating a viable design and then fabricating the robot from those planned designs.  


Sophomore Max Lazarus, one of the coders for the team, talks about what it was like to be a part of the competition and walk away with the grand prize for robot design. “It was so exciting,” Max said. “As a team, we put so much into the design process. I think the judges could see that. Our design was unique and functional.” 


MHS Engineering Teacher James Love expressed how proud he is of what the team accomplished. He said this was the largest group he has ever taken to a competition.


“Earning the first-place design award means a lot to us. Our focus has been on using CAD to design and test our robot. It allows us to iterate on our design without going through the time-consuming part of building every single change. It will also allow us to leverage all the amazing equipment being put into the new STEM lab.

 Metal CNC’ing, water jetting, resin printing, and laser cutting will all be at our disposal,” Mr. Love said. “In addition to our great design work, we have also made lots of progress with the computer vision and AR capabilities of the robot. While we were all disappointed that the design award was not enough to qualify for the regional championship, the future looks very bright. Everyone is excited for what is to come, and we have already started to plan for our robot next season.”


Graham Welsh, also a sophomore Robotics student, added, “The upcoming STEM CoLab is going to be amazing. What I’m most excited about is how it will allow us ease in rapid prototyping. We will have immediate access to parts we need when we need them, as the equipment enables us to produce customized parts right there in the lab.” 


(Graham talks about his plans to design a security system for his own backyard once he becomes proficient at coding. He already mapped out the system using MS Paint and will plan to customize some parts in the CoLab.) 


Both Max and Graham became interested in engineering/robotics in elementary school when they were exposed to the design process. The soon-to-open STEM CoLab at the high school will enable students to fully expand upon the STEM interests and skills they develop in the younger grades.