Robotics Team Wins “Cliffhanger”

It was a hard competition and we had problems that we were not even thinking about before! But I am still proud of the effort we made.

— Fizar Hossen

On November 17, 2019, the Englewood Robotics team “C’est La Vie” participated in the Cliffside Park Cliffhanger FIRST Tech Challenge competition. The competition took place at Cliffside Park High School, where more than 30 teams from New Jersey attended, bringing their own unique robot to compete. 

The main event of the competition took place within a designated arena in the gym, where all the robots were placed. The objective of each robot was to work with another team and to place as many blocks as possible on a tray located on the opposite end of the arena after navigating the robot over/under a bridge. Placing each block on the tray would score points for the respective team.

An autonomous option was available, where teams could program their robot to pick up the blocks and navigate under the bridge by themselves, but they’re given a minute to do so. After a minute, two drivers accompanied by a coach from every team would start their controllers to communicate with the robot and begin their 2-minute task.

The competition was fierce, with the clanging of metal and the yelling of coaches that echoed across the gym. Englewood’s drivers Sid Somashekar and Richard Sawh were accompanied by coach Karina Nirmal on the front lines, competing for the Finals. The pit crew consisted of Fizar Hossen and Juanito Meneses, who were ready to address and fix any problem that may have occurred to the robot in between matches. 

“It was a hard competition and we had problems that we were not even thinking about before! But I am still proud of the effort we made,” junior Fizar Hossen stated.

C’est La Vie put up a valiant effort but came up short when it came to making the top three seeds. But, to their fortune, Don Bosco’s Ironmen Robotics team selected C’est La Vie and the Millburn Robotics team to accompany them to the Semi-Finals, where the DMAE team successfully made it to the Finals.

“We had problems meeting size requirements that we could just not get over in the end. We lost that match due to size and teammate incapability, but luckily Don Bosco picked us up and helped us become a successful and winning team,” junior Richard Swah explained. 

The Finals retained the top seed Glen Rock’s Cosmic Geese, and they paired up with Horace Mann’s Basement Lions for an exciting final round match up. Three matches were played during the Finals, where C’est La Vie and Milburn rotated with Don Bosco for an efficient strategy to win. After three riveting matches of gear grinding and button-mashing, the Don Bosco – Millburn – Dwight Morrow alliance seized the win.

“Despite the hardships that our team faced with getting organized, getting the materials, and being registered in time to make the event, they pulled it together at the last minute and they showed up to clinch the Finals for the meet,” advisor Rand Sherry said.

Englewood will be hosting its own competition in the gym on January 11, 2020. Critical Mass will be in attendance, and they are on a mission for revenge for their loss in the semi-finals. 

“We might’ve won the battle, but the war is far from over,” said junior Fizar Hossen in the simplest of terms.