Left to right, Ula Bitenitis, Josh Knospler, Patrick McGurrin, Jonathan Poret, Karthik Selvaraj, Emmet Sedar, Julia Muth, and Sofia Giralt of Sparta High School Robotics. (Photo provided).
Sparta High School Robotics last weekend competed at Millburn High School's regional VEX Robotics Competition with 64 other teams. Sparta's varsity team, 5249 Z, was undefeated in qualifier matches and finished third overall in the tournament portion of the event. Team 5249 Z received the competition's highest award, the Excellence Award, and is ranked 10th in New Jersey for both driver and programming skills. This places them in the top 5 percent worldwide, and in position 179 out of 3,555 teams, globally. Key criteria are design award ranking, tournament qualification matches ranking, robot skills challenge ranking, other judged-award rankings, and high quality VEX robotics program. They must also interview well and present their design process to a panel of judges. "The students on 5249 Z have ...set a the bar for excellence very high and that will inspire Sparta students for many years to come," said the team's coach, Mark Meola, Sparta's Applied Technology/Robotics and Engineering teacher. "Individual members were busy not only working on their own competition performance and strategies but also in reaching out to new teams who where competing for their first time and helping them with mechanical design help and construction, strategies for competing," he said. "They truly embrace the role of mentoring younger teams which is a awesome part of competitive robotics." 5249 Z consists of; Captains Julia Muth, Patrick McGurrin, Emmet Sedar, and Joshua Knospler, Karthick Selvaraj, Johnathan Poret, Sofia Giralt, Steven Zukowski, and Ulla Bitinaitis. Sparta Robotics Sub Teams 5249 S and 52500 B also earned a place in this year's state championships to be held on Saturday, Feb. 23 at Cherry Hill high school. They both won this honor by having outstanding driver and programming skills accomplishments. 5249 S consists of Captain Hunter Roggero, Christopher Scheri, Tom Scheri, Cameron Ekeman, Alan Yeung, Hailey Koerner, Grace Masterson. Team 52500 B consists of Captain Ryan Curry, Jonathan Enriquez, Nick Casequera, an Logan Blochinger.