Golda Och Academy’s robotics team heads to state championship

Photo Courtesy of Erin Sternthal
Golda Och Academy’s CodeRunners robotics team ranked No. 1 at the second FIRST Tech Challenge game at Livingston High School and will advance to the FTC NJ State Championship.

WEST ORANGE, NJ — In December, Golda Och Academy’s robotics team, the CodeRunners, competed in the second FIRST Tech Challenge game of the 2017-2018 season at Livingston High School and was ranked No. 1 out of 30 teams. The CodeRunners won five out of five matches and qualified to advance to the FTC NJ State Championship.

“It is so exciting to see the team accomplish this milestone so early in the FTC season,” CodeRunners adviser Arco Jeng said in a press release. “It’s wonderful to see all of their hard work being recognized.”

To prepare for the qualifier, CodeRunners President Aytan Geschwind of Maplewood said the team focused on the robot’s programming, spending time testing and adjusting the code.

“We also dedicated several meetings to practicing driving the robot, ensuring that our drive team was as skilled as possible,” Geschwind said.

The team put their driver, Noah Randman, under time constraints to replicate the competition environment. Randman practiced controlling the robot, lifting blocks and placing them on shelves — similar to a forklift — while others continuously tested the autonomous portion of the robot.

According to CodeRunners Vice President Nadav Soudry, the team perfected the robot’s design by 3D printing new parts and spares.

“Our autonomous program was greatly improved compared to the previous meet as a result of hours spent on programming,” Soudry said. “We incorporated two sensors into our design to see colors around the robot and to help the driver.”

At the closing ceremony, the CodeRunners received a Winning Alliance Captain trophy and a trophy for winning the Control Award, which recognizes the best team that uses sensors and software to enhance the robot’s functionality on the field.

“It felt incredibly gratifying to be ranked the No. 1 team at the qualifier and advance to the state championship this early in the season,” Geschwind said. “We had spent months perfecting our robot’s software and design, and it really paid off.”