Shelton High robotics team now at world tourney after winning New England championship

The winning Shelton High School robotics team at the New England championship in Boston.
The winning Shelton High School robotics team at the New England championship in Boston.

The Shelton High School (SHS) robotics team was recognized as the tournament champions at the first-ever New England FIRST Robotics Regional Championship in Boston from April 10 to 12.

Team No. 230 from SHS, the Gaelhawks, partnered with two other Connecticut teams — No. 177 the Bobcats from South Windsor and No. 4055 NRG from Winsted — to take home the New England Regional championship banner after three days of competition.

The three-team alliance fought from their third-seeded position to knock off both the fifth and second seeds to ultimately face and defeat the top-seeded alliance in the championship finals.

A crowd of about 2,500 students and fans watched the competition at the Agganis Arena on the Boston University campus.

FIRST is an acronym for: For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology.

More than 50 teams competed

The New England robotics championship featured 54 top teams from Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire and Rhode Island.

All teams had to qualify through district competition to earn the spot at the New England championship.

This year’s competition, “Aerial Assault,” requires teams to work together to score a large exercise ball into a goal with their remote-controlled robots.

Shelton’s robot, Talon XV, was built and operated by students from the SHS robotics team along with their mentors from Sikorsky, OEM Controls and UTC.

Now head to world championship

The Shelton High team will now travel to St. Louis to compete with 400 qualifying teams from around the globe in the FIRST Robotics Competition world championship on April 24 to 26.

Details about the event and webcast information can be found at The Gaelhawks will be competing in the Curie Division.

Sponsors and expenses

The SHS robotics team is sponsored by the Shelton public school system and local technology companies, UTC Sikorsky, OEM Controls, Pitney Bowes, Boeing, Haydon Kerk, and Intuitive Surgical.

Anyone interested in sponsoring the team can contact team advisor John Niski of SHS, at Niski can provide information on how to help the team raise the nearly $10,000 needed for registration and travel expenses.

Team now in its 16th year

The Gaelhawks robotics team is currently in its 16th year of operation and members include about 25 SHS students and volunteer adult mentors from Sikorsky, OEM Controls, Technology Service Corp. and other area companies.

For more detailed information go to the team website at

The team is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization that focuses on promoting lifelong learning for students in science, technology, engineering and math.