Two Shelton robotics teams qualify for state championship

Two Lego League robotics teams from Perry Hill Elementary School competed in the first Lego League Shelton qualifying event at Shelton High School on Nov. 19. The Shelton teams, the Brainiacs and the Predators, were two out of eight teams that qualified for the state championship in robotics.

Twenty-four teams competed during the competition, which was broken up into various parts, including building the robot, the team presentation and a research project. The winning categories were for championship award, research award, design award, performance award, and judges award.

The Brainiacs placed third in the champions part, second in the robot design, fifth in research,, fifth in core values, second in the judges category, and seventh in robotics performance. They placed third overall in the competition.

The Predators placed 11th in the robot performance,, ninth in core values, 11th in the

champions category, fifth in robot design, and eighth in research. They placed eighth overall in the competition.

Along with family, friends and spectators, some administrators from the Shelton school system attended the event to watch the teams compete. The chairman of the Shelton Board of Education, Mark Holden, was there with his wife, Wendy.

“I’m thrilled to be here today,” Holden said. “The kids are adorable. The projects are interesting with worthwhile ideas.”

Holden said he can foresee the Shelton Board of Education continuing support for the program, and he also mentioned that board member Faith Hack came earlier to support the two Shelton robotic teams.

Members of the Brainiacs competing included Patrick Carroll, Christian Delgado-Santiago, Gabriel West, Ben DeMartino, Aiden Welch, Jonathan Hayek, Maja Shallow, Sanjana Jain, and Elizabeth Cayer.

Members of the Predators competing included Gabriel Zamani, Jack Ryan, Matthew Boivin, Paul Pavliouk, Mary Pavliouk, Charlie Santa, Dylan Greenlaw, Luis Silva, Diya Singh, and Alexander Guerra.

Many of the children on the teams commented on the competition.

Sanjana Jain of the Brainiacs said the competition was one of the best she has attended. Elizabeth Cayer said she thought they did really well and had good core values, and it was fun. Patrick Carroll said he thought the competition was exciting and stressful because they often place seventh, but he was hoping to get a golden ticket to go to the state tournament. Gabriel West said he thought they should do it every year, no matter what time it is.

Ben DeMartino said it was really fun but stressful. A few times the missions hadn’t gone well, so he was just trying to think about the happy times while waiting for the results.

Robotics coaches Michele Piccolo and Aimee Cayer said they were impressed with the overall event.

“Coaching has been a pure joy this year,” Cayer said. “I watched my husband coach the Circuit Breakers for four years now. This is my first year as a coach, and I absolutely loved every minute.”

Piccolo also coached the Predators, along with Paymen Zamani. Zamani’s wife, Ana Zamani, was an assistant coach to John Niski, robotics adviser, who had to leave the competition before the winners were announced. Richard Vogl, events coordinator for First Lego Leagues, commented on Niski’s contribution to Shelton’s robotics team.

“John is helping me to coordinate this event; we wouldn’t be able to do it without him,” said Vogl.