Robotics Teams Compete in FIRST LEGO League Championship

Six robotics teams from Shady Side Academy Middle and Junior School competed in the Western PA FIRST LEGO League (FLL) Grand Championship on Saturday, Dec. 14, at Sewickley Academy. Area teams that competed in at least one scrimmage this year were eligible to participate in the championship. A total of 52 teams competed in the Scholastic Division in four areas - game board, project, hardware/software and teamwork/core values.

In the FLL competition, students design, build and program their own robots to complete varied tasks on the game table. These can be as simple as moving a LEGO building to a designated circle, or as complicated as operating a LEGO crane. As part of the competition, teams are also required to complete a research project and presentation related to this year's theme, City Shaper.

The Middle School had five robotics teams compete. The Blue Team of eighth graders Jack Bransome, Joe Krokosky, Deven Nahata, Hari Viswanathan and Andrew Zeng placed sixth overall with a score of 335 on the game board. The Red Team of sixth graders Ahmeena Anthony, Julia Monaco, Abigail Mullin, Maddie Rhoades and eighth graders Ahniya Anthony and Abril Linares-Mendoza placed 19th overall with a score of 275 on the game board. The Green Team of seventh graders Jeffrey Brunner, Jasper Chapman, Kabir Chaudhry, Mohamed Elsayed, Shaurya Gulati, Harry Kelson, and John Rhee placed 30th overall with a score of 250 on the game board. The Gold Team of sixth graders Kabeer Chopra, Matteo Colello, Sam Davidheiser, Joseph Hosteny, Ben Huang, Jacob Johnson, Sam Kamin, Will Nury, Roddin Shirazian and Steven Wu placed 46th overall with a score of 160 on the game board. The Purple Team of seventh graders Sophia Gombos, Maanya Goulatia, Ava Jankowski, Ava Terezis and Sunny Zhao placed 48th overall with a score of 155 on the game board.

The Junior School team finished the robot competition tied for 34th place. The team developed an app prototype that would work with mapping software such as Google Maps or Waze to alert you when an emergency vehicle is coming. The Look Back app was the team's solution to emergency vehicles having difficulty getting through traffic congestion. Team members are third graders Nadim Tabbara, Brieanna Butler and Rosa Iannetti, fourth graders Julian Aguiar, Oliver McCarroll and fifth graders David Dillon, Andrew Xing, Simon Braver and Claudia Iannetti.

The Middle School robotics teams are coached by science teacher Matt Brunner and Spanish teacher Andrea Cespedes, while the Junior School team is coached by science teacher Jeff McCarroll. Special thanks to Middle School Assistant Head Brian Johnston for helping out with the MS teams this season.

The FIRST LEGO League (FLL) introduces younger students in grades 4-8 to real-world engineering challenges by building LEGO-based robots to complete tasks on a thematic playing surface. FLL teams, guided by their imaginations and adult coaches, discover exciting career possibilities and, through the process, learn to make positive contributions to society. To learn more, visit or

Congratulations to all six teams and their coaches!

View a slideshow of the Middle School competition:

View a slideshow of the Junior School competition:

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