Tower Hill’s new Robotics Team, “Hiller Instinct” scored high marks in the first of several competitions leading up to the State Robotics Championships in January. The fact that Tower Hill has never had a Robotics team before made their first-place finish an auspicious start for the program, according to their
Delaware’s FIRST Tech Challenge (FTC) event coordinator Joe Perrotto remarked that the robotics newcomers seemed to raise the bar in their first competitive outing.
“It is very unusual for a rookie team to field such a strong, capable robot this early in the season. The Hiller Instinct robot was clearly the strongest robot at the competition,” said Perrotto.
“I have been building robots and running robotic competitions for 20 years and the launching mechanism that the Tower Hill came up with is something I’ve never seen before. It is not only unique but works amazingly well,” said Perrotto, who is on the national Game Design Committee that designs the game and creates the rules for all teams worldwide.
Newark High School hosted seven regional high schools from New Jersey, Pennsylvania and Delaware at the Delaware FIRST Tech Challenge (FTC) season kick-off event on November 10th. The first meet was effectively a scrimmage in which every team was still in the process of developing their machines. Hiller Instinct only tested their robot and wrote some of the programs just in time for Saturday’s match-up.
The Hillers ended the day with a 4-1 record – the high score for the event.
THS Robotics Coach and Upper School Physics teacher Jim Haine was pleased with his students’ effort. “Three months ago, our students started unboxing crates of small parts and followed some online training to figure out what they were for. I would have been very happy to have a working robot today with even simple programs created. The students were excited to see their designs working on the field, and I know they were excited about their high scores,” said Haine.
Delaware runs six invitational meets from November through January that offer practice for the students, as well as setting the field for the State Championship. At Saturday’s event, some veteran teams had great experience and a history of success, which Haine says they shared willingly with newer teams. “The established teams focused more on testing ideas than considering wins and losses,” he said.
The Hiller Instinct team has three Seniors, one Junior, four Sophomores and five Freshmen.
Unable to attend, but equally responsible for the robot Hiller Instinct placed on the field:
Ben du Pont
“We have many more things to work as the remainder of the season continues,” said Haine. “We will improve, as will our competition. But I’m proud of our team and all of the teams who supported each other out here today.”
Delaware has a proud history of strong robotic teams, from elementary school teams all the way to the large, 150 lb robots in the First Robotics Challenge. According to Perrotto, one of the Delaware teams was even world champions and invited to the White House a few years ago.