PUHI — The Spare Parts, one of four teams from Punahou School, piloted the Boys of Belgium Waffle to eight qualifying points Saturday during the First Tech Challenge tournament at the Wilcox Gymnasium on the Island School campus.
“This is the first time Kauai has hosted off-island teams,” said James Massaro, a Kauai Robotics coach and adviser. “This is also the first year Kauai is doing the First Tech Challenge, a program for students in grades seven through twelve. We have six off-island teams — four from Punahou, one from Le Jardin Academy, and a team from Maui. This is such a great thing. We can have more robotic tournaments.”
The Spare Parts, entered as Team 7548, finished as the only team to have eight qualifying points, scoring 353 points in the tournament.
Another Punahou team piloted its robot, Thomas, to a six-way tie for six qualifying points. It finished second with 560 points, outscoring the third-place team, Hawaii Technology Academy Kauai, who piloted DuctTape &ZipTies to 521 points.
“This is great,” said Traci Sullivan, the HTA Kauai coach. “This is our first year, not just for the island, but for our students. We had two not-so-good rounds. The first round, our autonomous wasn’t reset and we lost by just three points to the Spare Parts. But we had good rounds, logging the highest points of the day at 166 and 165, respectively.”
The Trojan Bots, a team from St. Anthony’s, Maui, finished fourth when Ponce Bot qualified for six QP and racked up 412 points while its coach, Anne Bailey, worked the cell phone to make arrangements for their departure.
“We’re the only team on Maui,” Bailey said. “We opted to come to Kauai rather than host a tournament. This is good because we qualify to advance to the state finals, Dec. 9 on Oahu. We did what we came for.”
Following the Maui team, three Kauai teams — the RoboWarriors from Kapaa High School, the Red Raiders of Kauai High School, and the CyberSaints of St. Catherine School — filled in the fifth to seventh places. The Red Raiders edged out the CyberSaints by just a single point, 345 points to 344 points.
“We’re going to Punahou’s tournament Saturday,” Sullivan said. “If we do well at that tournament, we can get rid of those two not-so-good runs and get better positioning during the state tournament. We were unbeaten coming into this tournament, and we were ranked No. 2 in the state. It’s back to the mall next week. We need to work out the bugs before heading to Punahou.”