Fryeburg Academy’s robotics team, named 20005B “Free Cheese,” has earned a spot at the VEX World Championships, to be held April 25-27 in Dallas, Texas. Team captain Yeo Bondar ‘23, left, and Chloe Sartory ‘23 hold their first-place banner and Robotics Skills Award. Submitted photo

Fryeburg Academy’s robotics team, named 20005B “Free Cheese,” has earned a spot at the VEX World Championships, scheduled for April 25-27 in Dallas, Texas.

The team finished the qualification matches at States undefeated and in first place, earning them the number one seed in the final bracket out of 48 teams.

“We took first place in the Skills Competition, which combines driver skills and autonomous programming skills,” said David Sartory, FA’s technology instructor and robotics coach, according to a news release from Laura Ayer, the academy’s director of communications. “Our first-place position in the tournament also was the highest season score in all Maine rankings, ultimately earning the team’s space at Worlds.”

The inception of FA’s robotics club was formed during the 2017-18 academic year and primarily student-led by the academy’s first Ukraine Global Scholar, Tonia Zakorchemna ’19. Six years later, another UGS student, senior and team captain Yeo Bondar, took the team to Worlds for the first time this year.

“We began in an unused dorm room with two students and have grown to include around eight competition team members and another six club members each year,” said Sartory. “Since that year, we’ve expanded multiple times and now have a beautiful full-time lab adjacent to the computer lab. The students built it, and it reflects them in every way. It’s truly their space, and they have earned the school’s trust by handling the gear and the space well.”

When asked what skill set the team employed to yield such a successful outcome, Sartory states the team is well known for being a great alliance partner.


“The entire VRC program relies on effective use of mostly random partnerships, and our 20005B is helpful, cooperative, and fun to work with,” said Sartory. “Their well-deserved Sportsmanship Award, chosen by a team of judges who spend the day watching the tournament and interactions between teams, is further proof. In addition, this team really took the challenge seriously and, partway through the season, realized that they could be more effective by ignoring one of the larger aspects of the game (shooting discs) and focusing more on fast and accurate movement and a powerful endgame, allowing a partner more time to focus on discs. This strategy paid off repeatedly.”

As for the team’s goals for the future, their immediate goals are to prepare for the upcoming VEX World’s Championship in April and recruit more students to join the club.



Check out other upcoming area events!

Comments are not available on this story.