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Robotics Team Heads to States; Mariam Elias Wins Coaching Award


At top, Automated Admiralty teammates Matthew Madewell ’26, Arnav Gupta ’24, Ryan Cleaver ’27, Nathan Emonson ’24, Tessa Lee ’24 and Maya Agrawal ’24 with their Control Award from the Feb. 3 FTC tournament; at bottom, coach Mariam Elias with her Compass Award.

Ravenscroft’s Upper School robotics teams made another strong showing at the Feb. 3, 2024, FTC (First Tech Challenge) Robotics Competition regional event, which took place at Smithfield-Selma High School in Smithfield.

All three teams were recognized for their performance at the tournament, and team Automated Admiralty qualified for the state championship, which will take place this Saturday, Feb. 24, at North Carolina A&T State University in Greensboro.

Team Minimum — Rehan Khan ’25, Aldo Mineo ’25, Harry Ursitti ’25 and Isaac Freeman ’25 — won third place for the Innovate Award, which celebrates a team that thinks imaginatively and has the ingenuity, creativity and inventiveness to make their designs come to life. This judged award is given to the team with an innovative and creative robot design solution to any specific components in the FTC game. Elements of this award include elegant design, robustness and ‘out of the box’ thinking related to design.

The Techno Tigers — Zach Peverall ’25, Paulie Brooks ’25, George Haralambakis ’27, Tom Maekawa ’27 and Tyler Artinger ’25 — made it to the finals and won second place in the Control Award, which celebrates a team that uses sensors and software to increase the robot’s functionality in the field. This award is given to the team that demonstrates innovative thinking to solve game challenges, such as autonomous operation improving mechanical systems with intelligent control.

Automated Admiralty — Matthew Madewell ’26, Arnav Gupta ’24, Ryan Cleaver ’27, Nathan Emonson ’24, Tessa Lee ’24 and Maya Agrawal ’24 — made it to the semifinals and won first place for the Control Award and second place for the Inspire Award, qualifying them to advance to the state competition. The Inspire Award winner is an inspiration to other teams, acting with gracious professionalism both on and off the playing field. This team shares their experiences, enthusiasm and knowledge with other teams, sponsors, their community and the judges. 

In addition, team coach Mariam Elias, who is the Upper School computer science teacher, received the Compass Award, which recognizes an adult coach or mentor who has given outstanding guidance and support to a team throughout the year and demonstrates to the team what it means to be a gracious professional. 

“Winning the Compass Award is a tremendous honor for me, as it represents recognition from the First Tech Challenge community, particularly from the students I’ve had the privilege to mentor,” she said. “This award serves as a reminder that the journey of mentorship is a two-way street; while I may guide and support the team, they, in turn, teach me valuable lessons about perseverance, creativity and the boundless potential of young minds. I am immensely grateful for the opportunity to be part of their journey and look forward to continuing to inspire and be inspired by the incredible individuals I have the privilege to mentor.”

As Ravenscroft’s varsity robotics program has gained momentum over the last few years, the teams have benefited from their coaches’ expertise, mentoring and support. Elias’s co-coach, James McFarland, received the Compass Award at the team’s Jan. 20 competition.

Good luck to Elias, McFarland and the members of Automated Admiralty as they prepare for the state championship competition this weekend. Ravens may watch the competition unfold live and monitor scores on the FTC’s website