On Saturday, January 9th Mount Olive held the nation’s first virtual Eventhub hosted First Lego League (FLL) regional Qualifiers event. A total of twelve teams in the North NJ FLL region attended the event to compete with their robots in this year’s competition called RePLAY. This year’s competition and innovation project (outreach/ research project) focused on keeping communities active during the current pandemic.
“I think they [the competing teams] handled it extremely well because compared to in-person where you can just adjust things on the fly, you don’t have as much feedback,” explained Justine Ordinario, a head referee of the FLL Regional Qualifiers event.
The competition was held on Eventhub to host the innovation project presentations. Teams showcased their passion for the FLL program and their gracious professionalism during the presentations. Also, a panel of judges assessed these presentations for qualities of core values, research, and team spirit. Along with the innovation projects the teams sent in videos of their robots completing the RePLAY game missions to qualify for the North NJ Regional FLL Championship.
The Roboclaws from Skillman, LegoDragons from Edison, and Flame Machines from Livingston advanced to the Regional FLL Championship. The Flame Machines also won the Champion’s award which was the most prestigious award presented during the closing ceremony.
“It was very exciting,,,we were all spanning each other in our personal group chat. Although Antonina [a team member] couldn’t be at the awards ceremony we shared our spirit with her, ” expressed Shining Wang, a member of the Flame Machines team.
The next step for these teams is to prepare for the upcoming North NJ Regional FLL Championships. Teams are planning on expanding upon their innovation projects and fixing issues they have noticed in their robot. Many teams have also expressed how FLL has been an engaging experience amongst the pandemic because they had the chance to bond with their teams over their shared passion for STEM.
“ It was a lot easier to help with outreach since everything is remote we had a chance to help with our local hospital such as making face masks/shields because we understood that we are all in this pandemic together” said Paxton Nithikasem, a member of the Flame Machines, when asked about what he enjoyed about this season.
Teams/ individuals that won awards:
Volunteer Appreciation Award: Sara Pereira of Mount Olive Robotics Team 11
Core Values Award: Montgomery Thundercats from Skillman
Innovation Project Award: Roboclaws of Skillman
Rising All-Star Award: The Spikers of Englewood
The Breakthrough Award: LegoDragons from Edison
The Robot Design Award: Menlo Sparks from Edison
Coach/Mentor Award: Jim Wang of Flame Machines
The Robot Performance Award: Flame Machines from Livingston
The Champion’s Award: Flame Machines from Livingston