The Steel Hawks hosted Open Field 2023


Courtesy of Robotics Media Sub-Team

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On February 18 and 19, Townsend Harris’ robotics team, the Steel Hawks, hosted Open Field for the first time in three years at THHS. During Open Field, robotics teams from schools all around New York City are invited to come and test their robots in a full-sized replica game field constructed in the gym simulating the atmosphere of future competitions. This year, Benjamin N. Cardozo High School’s The Sentinels, Bronx Science’s SciBorgs, Energy Technical High School’s Chargers, and Xaverian High School’s Brooklyn Blacksmiths all joined the Steel Hawks to tune, test, and show off their robots.

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Open Field has not taken place since 2020. Senior and Steel Hawks President Matthew Algenio is one of the few current Steel Hawks who participated in it the last time it occurred. “I’m just glad we were able to complete a robot and test it alongside other NY FRC teams… [Open Field] was an amazing experience to see and speak with other teams testing their mechanisms, programming software, and completed bots,” he said. “It was even cooler when we finally finished the assembly of our Alpha Robot (our robot used for testing and driver practice) to display to other teams, tune our autonomous programs, and fly across the field in driving practices.”

Townsend Harris alumnus and new physics teacher Micheal Quach recently joined Joel Heitman, David Stern, John Tsai, Joshua Raghaunath, and Assistant Principal of Science, Math, and Technology Susan Brustein as a Steel Hawks coach. 

When asked about his thoughts on Open Field, Mr. Quach said, “It was kind of like a wake-up call to us to see how much harder we have to work. It was also cool to see how hard we’ve come to actually have a robot to place on the field and try things out.” Although he wasn’t a part of robotics during his time as a student at THHS, Mr. Quach regrets it saying, “seeing it all [Open Field] come together really makes me wish that I was a part of the team, it always amazes me how much all the students can do. ”

Junior Jie Xuan Tang, who experienced Open Field for the first time, said, “[it] was very fun because we got to work together towards the same goals… together on one field.” Jie Xuan also expressed that this event allowed him to reconnect with peers from other robotics teams.

Matthew said, “Open Field serves as a way for the team to leave the robotics community better off than we found it. Not many teams can construct a full field because of its costs and difficult construction, so we believe that it is important for us to provide the opportunity for teams to experiment with our resources.”