Steel Hawks earn recognition at FIRST Long Island Regional Competition

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Photo courtesy of Daniel Sotelo-Reiner

This past weekend was the FIRST Long Island Regional Competition held at Hofstra University. The Townsend Harris Steel Hawks competed at the event along with 43 other schools, coming from places such as Pennsylvania to even Croatia.

During the competition, the team finished the qualification round with a 6 to 6 win to loss streak. In FIRST Robotics competitions, the highest ranking teams after qualifications choose two other teams with whom they will compete at playoffs. The POBots from Old Bethpage John F. Kennedy High School in Plainview, New York chose to ally with the Steel Hawks and the robotics team from Central Catholic High School in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.

The team, along with their alliance, won one out of three of their qualification matches, ranking them 21st out of the 44 teams competing at the event.

In addition to their high placement, the Steel Hawks won a prestigious award known as the Engineering Inspiration Award. The Engineering Inspiration Award honors teams that have exceptionally embodied the ideals behind FIRST and additionally have spread ideas of STEM throughout their school and community.

The team had already advanced to the World Championship through their winning of the Judges’ Award and 13th place finish at the Hudson Valley Regional in March. However, by winning the Engineering Inspiration Award, the team’s registration fee of $5,000 for Worlds no longer has to be paid. This has extremely lessened the cost per person for the trip, allowing more students to be able to attend the trip.

Team members spoke highly of the experience. Sophomore Andy Hoo said, “The recent competition at SBPLI #2 at Hofstra University in Long Island has definitely been a wonderful and incredible time! The trip there was amazingly fun and even though I might’ve slept in the stands and needed to catch up on homework after, it’s without a doubt definitely worth it to be there and cheer for my team for their success.”  

He added, “Although we ended in the quarterfinals, it was especially unforgettable and unbelievable when we won the Engineering Inspiration Award sponsored by NASA during the Awards Ceremony. Shaking the hands of the judges, winning the award, and overall being a part of this team itself which is my second family makes me feel happy and proud to have made the decision of joining robotics, to see how hard work can pay off.”

The team will be competing at the FIRST World Championship in Detroit from April 25 to April 28, marking the team’s third time qualifying for the competition in their history. Andy said, “Catch us on the livestream on Twitch next week and wish us luck in our Worlds Competition at Detroit.”