Bobcat Robotics: ‘Charged Up’ and Crushing Competition

Aiden Keegan

On Thursday, April 20th, stakes were high as the Bobcat Robotics Team 177 walked through the doors of Huston´s George R. Brown Convention Center to compete in the World Robotics Championship.

 For multiple days during the Houston championship, the Bobcats competed as members of the Newton Division. The team got to know and work with many other teams from all over the world. They even formed alliances with two other HS Robotics teams: Team Scream 4522 from Sedalia, MO and Team Octobots 9084 from Goleta, CA.

 Ever since their first competition, the Bobcats have been ready, making a noteworthy entrance at both the Waterbury and Western New England events.

The team placed second in Waterbury where they didn’t just bring back a silver medal but also a trophy for their first ever innovations and controls award. At the next competition, the Bobcats traveled to Western New England University in Springfield, MA where they scored another second place win for S.W.

The team’s hard work and wins marked the foundation of a strong season which is what earned them their ticket to Houston for the World Robotics Championship.  

Bobcat robotics participated in the ‘Charged Up’ games this season through the FIRST Robotics program. The team has worked in collaboration with FIRST (For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology) for over a decade. 

Founded in 1989, FIRST is a national collaboration combining the excitement of sport with STEM technology and science. 

The mission statement of the FIRST organization reads ¨FIRST® inspires young people to be science and technology leaders and innovators by engaging them in exciting mentor-based programs that build science, engineering, and technology skills, that inspire innovation, and that foster well-rounded life capabilities including self-confidence, communication, and leadership¨  (

The program not only gives students an avenue to follow something they love, it also encourages them to further develop their passions at college and beyond, ¨92% of students involved in the program have expressed an Interest in Attending College¨ (FIRST).

Team 177, along with other FIRST 2023 robotics teams, worked on using energy for sustainable development. Encouraging groups to practice environmental care through sustainable energy was the objective for this year’s games.

The 2023 ‘Charged Up’ game entails multiple rounds, which can get pretty competitive. 

This year, we´re working on a robot that is able to maneuver around a playing field and pick up two different types of game pieces, cubes and cones

— junior, Anthony Paschetto.

¨The robot has to be able to lift up the game pieces and put them on different types of ‘nodes’ (spots for the pieces that earn us points).¨ 

The team definitely lives out those qualities as they work together during competitions which typically last the whole day due to the amount of prep that needs to be done before and in between matches.

 ¨In between some of the matches our team puts crew works on the bot to make sure that everything is running smoothly,¨ Paschetto said.

¨We also have scouts that observe other team´s robots to see who we could ally with in the future matches.¨ 

Team 177 works in collaboration with 11 dedicated sponsors. These include partnerships, Bronze sponsors, Silver Sponsors, and Gold Sponsors. The variety of sponsors is diverse, spanning from the town’s local grocery store, Geissler’s, to Travelers, a large scale business corporation.

A group of mentors who specialize in different STEM skills that apply to robotics, work directly with the team. 

Veteran engineer/operations manager of 18 years, David Bridge, and United Technologies Research Center engineer/scientist, Ulf Johnson, are two of the many mentor’s for the team. Akash Rastogi is a data scientist and Bobcat robotics mentor who has 17 years experience with FIRST. Rastogi specializes in controls.  

Mr. Savva Savvides and Mr. Joseph Jarvis, both Technology Educators at SWHS, run the current robotics program, which they have been involved with for many years.

On April 6th the team entered the New England Championships. The competition was a long stretch, and a lot of work, but ultimately the Bobcats took it home, coming out ranked second in the Wilson division. 

The team has been putting in their best work at SWHS meetings and during their competitions.

¨We have been working really hard on our autonomous modes to try and earn more points. I’m feeling really confident in our robot this year,¨ senior and team leader, Greta Slater said. 

I’m feeling really confident in our robot this year.

— senior, Greta Slater

Before the big Houston competition, Slater was enthusiastic to share her thoughts about working with the team. 

“My favorite part is working in the pits and going to competitions. I’m also excited to see my friends from other countries,¨ added Slater.

The team arrived in the lone star state on Wednesday April 19th Ranked 8th out of the 185 teams in their district with 285.00 points.  In order to prepare for qualifications on Apr 20 they went bowling at Huston Bowl. 

¨The Bobcats are ready for tomorrow´s qualification matches after having some friendly competition,¨ Bobcat Robotics Instagram page reports. 

The next three days were big, involving multiple rounds of qualifications, the tricky task of alliance forming and plenty of discussions, planning, reviewing and alterations.

The world games went well, and the Bobcats made it to the finals. Placing 5th in their division, with Two alliances and a great round of qualifications  the Bobcats came out strong. They also came out with a lot of memories. It’s safe to say this season is one the Bobcats will forever remember.