JAY — The Spruce Mountain Area Robotics Team (SMART) competed at the North Shore New England District FIRST Robotics Competition in Reading Massachusetts on March 16th and 17th.

SMART, the FIRST Robotics Competition team from Spruce Mountain High School in Jay, competed in Massachusetts March 16 and 17. Pictured clockwise from center back at the event are Drew Delaney, Orion Schwab, Jonathan Brenner, Annabelle Collins, Natalie Luce, Hunter Quirrion and Quin Fournier. (Courtesy photo)

The team faced technical challenges early in the competition, but due to outstanding leadership from the seniors and the hard work of the entire team, the robot improved all weekend. The team became an effective working group. Seniors Jonathan Brenner, Natalie Luce, Orion Schwab, and Hunter Quirrion set an example for their teammates on how to persevere when faced with challenges.

This year’s theme is called Deep Space. In each match three teams work together in an alliance to deliver “hatches” (large clear disks) and “cargo” (rubber dodge balls) to portals on rocket game elements.

Upon arrival, the team had some programming issues that puzzled even the programming experts at the competition, but eventually the problems were resolved. Next, the hatch pickup system did not work as expected. The team rallied, engineering an improved device that included a pneumatic piston to help extract the hatch for the loading station.

Once those issues were resolved, the team was on an alliance that set the high score for the competition at the time of the match. However, bad luck seemed to play a role, as the robot had a few unexpected breakdowns and in one match the robot managed to somehow get stuck with a thirteen-inch cargo ball trapped beneath it.

The drive team, featuring drivers Owen Wilkins and Annabelle Collins, drive team coach Drew Delaney, loading station operator Quin Fournier and technician Orion Schwab showed tremendous improvement over the two-day experience.


While all of this was going on on the playing field, all of the SMART robotics students were doing outstanding work in other phases of the competition. Students described the team’s community outreach and safety programs to judges and SMART was one of the most vocal teams in the stands.  Safety Captain Natalie Luce spent numerous hours working at the safety station and talking with judges, leading the team to the second place in the Underwriters Laboratory (UL) Safety Competition.

Scott Jackson, SMART’s Entrepreneurship and Engineering Inspiration team leader, and many other team members showed judges the impact SMART is having on our school and community, as well as explaining in great detail the innovations on our robot.

Our Chairman’s Award presenters Acacia Fournier and Madeline Labonte spent many hours prepping for the North Shore event, helping the team create a 10,000-word essay and producing a video showing what SMART is all about. After the Chairman’s Award oral presentation, Chairman’s Award mentor Chris Fournier said, “The kids did an outstanding job representing our team and community.”

Throughout the two-day event the build team, featuring Jonathan Brenner, Hunter Quirrion, Drew Delaney, Hannah Coates and Jacob Bryant, kept working on the robot, making repairs between matches. The team also added a new feature to the robot which will allow it to climb onto a platform elevated 6 inches off the ground at the end of matches for bonus points, which will be implemented at the Pine Tree competition at the next competition held at the Lewiston Colisee on April 5 and 6th.

The team also looked great in the custom designed t-shirts created by Alex Decker. Team member Evany Black rallied from feeling ill on Saturday morning to fully participating and even volunteering to help the event staff!

The team would like to thank the parents who provided transportation, volunteered to help run the event, and helped team members track data on the 39 robots competing at the competition using an Ipad system developed and implemented by Hannah Coates and Orion Schwab.

The team would also like to thank its mentors Jocelyn Collins, Mike Collins, Sarah Delaney, Rick Dorey, Chris Fournier, Duane Fournier, Dan Lemieux, Randy Luce, Fred Ouellette, Ann Schwab, Tim Schwab, and Rob Taylor.

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