SUNY Poly FRC Team headed to internationals

March 2018     No Comments

FRC Team 5030 – The Second Mouse at the CNY 2018 FIRST Regional Robotics Competition at SUNY Poly in Utica.

A robotics team made up of local high school students and mentored by SUNY Poly students is headed to the international FIRST Championships in Michigan next month following an exciting win at the Central New York 2018 FIRST Robotics Competition at SUNY Poly’s Utica campus.

SUNY Poly’s own FRC Team 5030, The Second Mouse, along with FRC Team 340, Greater Rochester Robotics, from Churchville, NY, and FRC Team 2791, Shaker Robotics, of Latham, NY, made up the alliance of teams declared regional champions. These three teams competed among the 35 total teams from across New York State, China, and Taipei in a series of challenges throughout the weekend in the Wildcat Field House in Utica for the CNY 2018 FIRST Robotics Competition.

“We at SUNY Poly are so proud to have hosted this amazing event and continue our longtime partnership with FIRST to foster an interest in science, technology, and most of all—collaboration,” said Dr. Bahgat Sammakia, Interim President of SUNY Polytechnic Institute. “This was an incredible performance by our area students. Team 5030, The Second Mouse, its members, mentors, and its performance this weekend exemplify the values, skills, and innovation that are synonymous with both SUNY Poly and FIRST.”

The world-renowned, multi-day robotics competition saw students, along with their mentors, demonstrate skills in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) as they competed for honors, recognition, and the chance to earn a coveted spot at the international FIRST Championships in April. Event sponsors came from some of the most highly-regarded organizations in the area, including National Grid, SUNY Poly, and NYSTEC. Sponsors provided resources, including time and talent from professional mentors, services, equipment, financial contributions, and volunteers.

“What an exciting weekend and what an amazing opportunity for students to put their knowledge of STEM to work in such a hands-on and fun way,” said Dr. William Durgin, SUNY Poly Provost. “We are so proud to see the talents, dedication, and commitment of our SUNY Poly-hosted FRC Team 5030, The Second Mouse, receive the recognition it so deserves. We wish the best of luck to the SUNY Poly student mentors and the area high school team members as they go on to the world championship.”

Over the course of six weeks, students worked with professional engineering mentors to design a robot that solves a problem using the same parts kits and a standard set of rules. Once the young inventors had created their robot, teams participated in regional competitions across the globe that measured the effectiveness of each robot, the power of collaboration, and the determination of students.

“Team 5030, The Second Mouse, advanced to the FIRST world championship in Detroit after coming back from a last place seeding at one point over the weekend,” said Janice Martino, FRC Coordinator. “While that is a great accomplishment, I think I am even prouder of the fact that they won the Gracious Professionalism award for being a welcoming host team, helping other teams throughout the tournament and setting an example of how to behave and move forward in the face of adversity.”

Each year the competition’s rules and gaming environments change, requiring students to build new robots that can accomplish particular tasks relevant to the new challenge. Called “Power Up,” this year’s theme for the competition focused on 8-bit video games, with each three-team alliance taking advantage of three ways to help defeat the game’s “boss.” Symbolizing goals and moves of classic video gaming, teams earned points by tipping a scale or switch in their favor, exchanging power cubes to gain temporary advantages during the match, and climbing the scale to face the game’s “boss.” The alliance with the highest score at the end of each match won that match.

“We’re thrilled to have all the hard work and dedication of our team members and mentors over these past six weeks pay off with the chance to go to the championships in Detroit,” said Dominick Ferone, one of the team mentors and a senior SUNY Poly student majoring in Computer and Information Design. “The entire team was so excited to host the event to begin with, we never expected to do so well so early and are very excited for what comes next.”

In addition to The Second Mouse taking home the Gracious Professionalism Award sponsored by Johnson & Johnson, Ferone was named Volunteer of the Year.

“National Grid volunteers who attended the competition saw firsthand what our sponsorship meant for all the teams participating in this inaugural event for Central New York and the Mohawk Valley,” said Alberto Bianchetti, Customer and Community Regional Executive, Central New York. “We take an extra measure of gratitude knowing the SUNY Poly team of local students are advancing. They are making our region proud.”

Before heading to the international championships April 25-28 in Detroit, Michigan, the team competes March 15-17 at RIT for the Finger Lakes Regional and The 29-31 at the Buckeye Regional in Cleveland.

The Second Mouse consists of area high school student team members mentored by SUNY Poly engineering students. The team is open to any area high school student who applies and currently has members from Utica, Whitesboro, New Hartford, and Sauquoit High Schools, as well as Oneida-Herkimer-Madison BOCES and Manlius Pebble Hill School.

Students learning from FIRST events and programs come away with a greater appreciation of science & technology and how it can be utilized to positively impact the world around them. Teams gain valuable life skills, such as brainstorming, creative problem solving, collaboration, teamwork, planning, time management, leadership, and a myriad of impressive technical skills.

The positive impact on FIRST Robotics Competition participants is tremendous, with FIRST studies showing more than 88% of those who participate are interested in doing well in school and 92% of participants are interested in attending college. Teams learn from professional engineers; master STEM skills; learn and use sophisticated software, hardware, and power tools; improve teamwork, interpersonal, and communication skills; learn the practice of gracious professionalism; and qualify for millions of dollars in college scholarships.

For a full list of award winners, visit: