TRUMANSBURG, N.Y. – After competing in two regional events earlier this month, the Trumansburg High School Robotics Team has qualified for World Championships.

The team, made up of 20 kids from grades 9-12, spent six weeks from January through February to begin building their robot to meet all the parameters necessary for the worldwide competition, said Andy Sciarabba, a mentor with the robotics team.

After taking their bot to two regional competitions in Utica in early March, the team ranked 4th out of 34 teams to qualify for World Championships, which are set to take place in Detroit from April 25 to April 28. There, the team will compete against 1,400 teams from 62 countries.

“The game itself is a little complicated – the robots, which form an alliance, have to compete in a 30-second autonomous mode, where everything is pre-programmed,” Sciarabba said. “In the next two minutes, the kids will have to control it with their controllers.”

Sciarabba said the team gains more points by the placement of cubes on their side. If a robot can climb, the team is awarded extra points.

Brad Farnham, the Lead Advisor and Program Manager for the robotics team said while the robot has to be efficient in certain skills, they will also have a chance to form alliances with three or four other teams.

“Part of this whole process learning to work together as a group, but also working as a bigger group,” Farnham said. “When you get into the final rounds, we begin the scouting process, gathering info on other teams, verifying what they can do on the field, and when we get to the alliance rounds, you pick two, three or four other teams to work together in different events.”

Until the competition, the team is not allowed to touch the actual bot they will be competing with. Instead, the competition bot will be shipped to Detriot, where the team will be able to install small parts to the bot that they have been working on.

“Right now, we’re really refining some of the systems and practicing and making all the programming codes are up to snuff,” Sciarabba said.

In addition to perfecting their robot, the team is also working to fundraise enough money to get to the championships. Sciarabba said they are approximately $19,000 dollars away from their goal.

The team will be holding a Robo-Jam fundraiser on April 14th from 4 p.m. to 9 p.m. at the American Legion in Trumansburg to help raise money for travel and competition fees. Dinner will include all the fixings of a classic BBQ – a half rack of baby back ribs or BBQ chicken, pasta salad, beans, bread and cookies.

For pre-sale tickets, reach out to Sciarabba at Donations can be sent through the team’s GoFundMe page here. For those who want to tune into the World Championships, the competition will be live streamed here.

Alyvia is a Crime Reporter with The Ithaca Voice. She graduated from Ithaca College with a degree in Journalism and Photography.