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Somerset robotics shines in state competition

The object of the 2016-2017 Challenge, “Starstruck” was to attain a higher score than the opposing Alliance by scoring stars and cubes in your zones. Photo Submitted1 / 3
Somerset Robotics team with coach Eric Olson. Photo submitted2 / 3
Alpha Spartans, Izaak Newhouse, Dominic Abbott, and Colton Musta. Photo Submitted3 / 3


The Somerset High School 2017 Robotics team qualified to compete at the state competition for the fourth year in a row. Four of the school's seven teams made the trip to Madison in early March to see how they measured up against the state's best.

"Somerset was represented well by all of our teams with two teams being nominated for the Sportsmanship Award and the Service Award. We also finished higher than we ever have in the skills competition," said Somerset Robotics Coach Eric Olson.

A competition consists of two alliances — one "red" and one "blue" — composed of two teams each. Teams compete in matches consisting of a 15-second autonomous period followed by 1 minute and 45 seconds of driver-controlled play also known as the skills competition. The object of the game is to attain a higher score than the opposing alliance.

Three of Somerset's teams placed in the top 30 of a 48 team bracket during the qualifying match (autonomous period). Team 9144B finished in 18th place, 9144A finished in 29th place and 9144E finished in 33rd place.

"9144B consists of Izaak Newhouse, Colton Musta and Dominic Abbott. 9144A consists of Henry Thurber, Glenn Coerber, Kendra Castaneda, and Zachary Cahanes. 9144E consists of Kian Rohow, Samuel Schmoker, Benjamin Cahanes," said team manager Haley Walters.

Two of the teams fared considerably better in the skills competition with team 9144A placing fifth and team 9144E placing 15th, higher than any Somerset robotics team has finished before.

"As always, I am mystified by what the boys have been able to accomplish this season, and I am beyond proud to call them my family," said Walters.

Coach Olson shares credit for the team's success with Walters.

"I hate to call her that (team manager) because she does so much more. Let me just say that, I would be lost without her," said Olson.

Olson's also grateful to SMC LTD and Somerset Collision for all the support they have contributed this season.

Looking ahead to next year, the future looks bright, said team captain and robotics veteran Henry Thurber.

"A lot of younger kids evolved from last year, and that improved their teams immensely," said Thurber.

With only one senior graduating, Olson knows expectations for next year's team will be high.

"Graduating just one senior, we know expectations will be high. If they work as hard as our teams have in the past, I have no reason to think we won't be a terrific team next year," said Olson.

April 19-25, 1,400 of the world's top student-led robotics teams will descend on the Kentucky Exposition Center in Louisville for the VEX Robotics World Championship. Somerset's robotic teams will be watching closely not only to see how teams from around the world solved the same challenges they solved, but also to hear the announcement of next year's challenge, also known as the "reveal."