Spruce Mountain Area Robotics wins Chairman’s Award

Spruce Mountain Area Robotics Team 3930 (SMART) competed at its first event of the season last weekend and won the Chairman's Award. Team members and mentors are seen with the banner they were presented at the NE District Granite State Event. (Courtesy photo)

JAY — The Spruce Mountain Area Robotics Team (SMART) competed last weekend at its first New England District event of the season: Granite State in Windham, New Hampshire.

Saturday’s competition was a day of ups and downs for the team, which started off with field communication system problems related to programming. This year’s game requires teams to receive information about the locations of switches and scales.

Advisor Daniel Lemieux said, “Our team, along with many others, had problems with the system. Fortunately, our alliance partners were able to help us win a few matches in the morning.

“By mid-morning, the programming team was able to solve the communication issues and we started slowly climbing up, finishing the qualifying rounds in 17th place out of 37 teams competing. Our programming team, consisting of Orion Schwab and Alex Decker, worked under enormous pressure to get us back into the competition.

“The drive team, comprised of Sydney Shaffer, Tanna Herlihy, Annabelle Collins, Melissa Bamford, and Owen Wilkins, continuously worked around the issues with the programming and kept us moving up in the standings.

Spruce Mountain Area Robotics Team 3930 (SMART) competed at its first event of the season last weekend and won the Chairman’s Award. Team members and mentors are seen with the banner they were presented at the NE District Granite State Event. (Courtesy photo)

“Our scouting team captain, Rylee Delaney, and her team of scouts, developed strategies for each match with our alliance partners. This involved watching each match closely and exchanging information with teams in the pits to understand how each team’s robot operated, then developing a game strategy based on the capabilities of the three robots on our randomly-determined team (“alliance”) for that match.”

During this time, the Chairman’s Award team was practicing its presentation. The team had already submitted its 10,000 word essay and a three-minute video made by Rylee Delaney.

The team went on to do a fantastic presentation. The team has worked hard for this most-coveted award for years, and they finally won it!

As coach Rob Taylor said, “This win is the culmination of all the work done by the team, its mentors, and the whole community over the past five years.”

SMART’s hosting of the regional Lego League Qualifier showed exceptional team effort, skill, and dedication, and the extraordinary community involvement it showed was instrumental in this win.

The SMART robot is seen lifting two other robots at the NE District Granite State Event held in Windham, New Hampshire last weekend. (Courtesy photo)

Truly, the efforts of all alumni, mentors, and community volunteers over the past six years played a part in this win. Special thanks to Celia McDonald for writing and submitting the award application, and to Acacia Fournier and Madeline Labonte for presenting the team to the awards judges.

Chairman’s Award mentor, Chris Fournier, did a fantastic job, and the team thanks her especially.

On Sunday, the team was picked by the 4th place alliance of Team #811, Cardinals, from Nashua, New Hampshire and Team #138, Entropy, from Amherst, New Hampshire, to compete in the playoffs. SMART had an incredible run in the elimination round, winning its first matches 2-0. This alliance lost to the alliance that eventually won the championship, in a tie-breaker in the semi-final round.

“We were the only alliance to win a match against the championship alliance all day,” Lemieux said.

Throughout the competition, SMART’s Spirit Team, along with its mascot, Smarty, and the whole team, kept the competition floor rocking and rolling, dancing and waving pool noodles. It was easily the loudest and most spirited team there.

SMART finished in 17th place out of 37 teams and won the Chairman’s Award, scoring 37 District points and the right to attend the New England Championship April 11-14 at Boston University. The team is currently ranked 20th in New England.

SMART won the Chairman’s Award at the NE District Granite State Event last weekend. Pictured from left with the banner are team members Acacia Fournier, Rylee Delaney, Celia McDonald and mentor Christine Fournier. (Courtesy photo)

Here is what the judges had to say about the team at the award ceremony:

“The Chairman’s Award is presented to the team judged to have the most measurable impact of its partnership among its participants and community over a sustained period, not just a single build season. The winner is able to demonstrate progress towards FIRST’s mission of transforming our culture. The recipient team will be invited to the District Championship where it will compete for the Chairman’s Award against winners from the other nine qualifying events, and compete with their robot.

“This team continuously takes steps to improve in every way possible, both on the field and in the support of their community.

“This team strongly supports FIRST programs including hosting an FLL Qualifier and an FLL summer event and starting two FRC rookies teams.

“These really SMART students represent all attributes of FIRST.

Congratulations to Team 3930, Spruce Mountain Area Robotics Team.”

Lemieux said, “Thank you to our parents, families, and mentors for supporting the team all weekend long. We may not have been the biggest team there, but somehow we seemed to be the loudest and most spirited team.”

SMART will be at its home event, the Pine Tree competition, March 23-24th at the Colisee in Lewiston, Maine. Please come out and support the team; it would love to have a big crowd from RSU #73, and admission is always free. The team will also be competing at the New England Championships at Boston University, April 11-14; hope to see you there!

SMART’s robot #3930 is seen lifting a power cube at the NE District Granite State Event last weekend in Windham, New Hampshire. (Courtesy photo)
SMART competed at the NE District Granite State Event last weekend where they won the Chairman’s Award. From left are seen the backs of Drive Team members Tanna Herlihy, Melissa Bamford and Sydney Shaffer. (Courtesy photo)