Huntington High School robotics team members are using every last bit of their considerable intellectual power and ingenuity during the ongoing “build season” that has them and their counterparts across the country and world constructing a robot to compete in this year’s FIRST Power Up challenge.
This year’s international game includes two alliances of video game characters and their human operators who are trapped in an arcade game. Both alliances work to defeat the boss in order to escape.
FIRST (For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology) encourages young people to pursue careers in engineering and science by showing them how interesting and fun those fields can be.
The Huntington robotics team is busy building and programming its robot for competition. (Darin Reed photo)
Huntington Robotics, officially known as FIRST Team 5016 has been given a tall task: Build a robot that can collect power cubes on a field, place them on plates that control a scale and make sure the robot can climb with all bumpers cleanly suspended in the air.
While most would find such a challenge daunting if not downright impossible to meet, the teenagers who fill out the ranks of the Huntington robotics team has the mechanical, electrical and programming abilities to meet such an intimidating task.
Huntington Robotics is led by Tim Low (team captain), Matthew Wildermuth (vice-captain), John Riley (chief technology officer), Lindsay Saginaw (chief of business operations), Matt Gennarelli (treasurer), Jennifer Low (secretary), David Mosden (head mechanical technician), Luke Eidle (head electrical technician), Ty Williams (head programmer), Katie Riley (head of computer aided design), Levi Leach (head of statistical strategy) and Foster Sullivan (safety captain).
The team’s business leaders are Isabella McGinnis (head of promotions), Luke Farrell (head of marketing), Abigail Holmes (head of outreach) and Nolan Piccola (head of awards).
Comprised of a mix of veterans and newcomers, the team has quickly learned what it means to work as a unit. “This year’s design phase went much more smoothly than in the past,” Mr. Eidle said. “When the challenge was announced, we split into different groups and brainstormed on design. Generally, we debate for quite some time before deciding on an approach. However, this year, most groups presented similar designs enabling us to come to a consensus much quicker. This will allow for more build time, testing and a well-rounded robot.”
For each year’s challenge, the team picks up a universal kit of parts containing motors, control system components, automation components, batteries and construction materials as a starting point for the build. While following the FIRST provided Power Up game instructions, the team has been working alongside faculty advisors Brian Reynolds and Omar Santiago and assortd mentors in designing, building, programming and testing its robot.
“We are just three weeks into the build season and have already constructed key components of our robot,” Mr. Mosden said. Team members meet daily after school and on Saturdays. As the February 20 deadline for robot completion approaches, members will even meet on Sundays and stay late into the night during the week.
“Without revealing any of our design features, I am confident that we are once again building a competitive robot,” said Mr. Riley, a four year team veteran. “Each year our team has members with varying skill sets. Some know nothing about building a robot. Yet, we always figure out a way to work cooperatively and achieve a goal.”
Sophomore Adam Neber participated in FIRST while living in London last year, serving on his school’s electrical team. Now a member of Huntington’s mechanical team, he has helped build a prototype claw mechanism, which is an essential part of the robot. “It’s really fun to be part of team and to learn from the senior members,” Mr. Neber said. “To have completed something and see it work is really satisfying.”
Mr. Neber worked in tandem on the claw with sophomore Patrick Langton, who joined the team because he likes science and math as well as trying to solve a problem. “Our robotics team has a lot of team spirit, which is one of the reasons why I came back this year,” Mr. Langton said. “I feel comfortable working with the senior members, who encourage me to take more risks and try something new. Now I helped build a part that will be used on the robot.”
Visit for more information about Huntington Robotics. Visit for more information about the FIRST robotics competition program.