A.W. Beattie Robotics team wins Steel City Showdown tournament

First robotics win

Congratulations to A.W. Beattie Career Center’s FIRST Robotics team, which recently won the Steel City Showdown at Carnegie Mellon University.

The tournament included 22 teams from four states. After five rounds of competition, teams formed alliances for the playoffs and finals.

A.W. Beattie formed an alliance with Franklin Regional and a team from Penfield, N.Y. to go on a seven-match win streak together to earn the Steel City Showdown Championship. The tournament title is the career center’s first championship in 13 years of competition.

“I’m very proud of everyone,” FIRST Robotics adviser Clif Bossong said. “We have one of the best robots we’ve ever built, and it’s nice to see they had a chance to show how talented they are.”

A.W. Beattie team captain and Hampton Township senior Ben Marcouiller said it was the perfect way to cap off the summer.

“I’ve been a part of this team for four years, and it’s grown tremendously since I got here,” Marcouiller said. “After all of those years of hard work I think we deserved winning this. I think we worked really hard for this, and I’m really excited for our team to continue to improve into the next school year.”

The alliance of A.W. Beattie, Franklin Regional and Penfield won in the best of three final round by taking the first two matches. Franklin Regional and Penfield played offense, and A.W. Beattie played defense.

After a tight first match, Marcouiller controlled the robot in the second match and had a plan after scouting the opposing alliance.

A.W. Beattie’s robot was able to corner one of the opposing robots in the opening seconds of the last match. The opponent’s only way out was to reverse its robot toward a ball in the arena, but the robot inadvertently climbed the ball and got stuck on it.

The opposing robot was able to pop the ball only for it to get stuck in a wheel, which enabled A.W. Beattie’s alliance to compete with a 3-on-2 advantage for most of the match.

“It’s the first time we have ever made a finals, so we were definitely going for that win,” Marcouiller said. “You could say we were being ruthless. We really wanted to win once we got to the finals.”

New team members like North Allegheny junior Andy Davis attended his first competition.

“I was interested in FIRST Robotics for a while,” Davis said. “It was great. We met all sorts of people. The teams were competitive, so I don’t know that we expected to win. (Robotics Engineering Technology teacher) Mr. Purucker kept saying we’re here first to learn and have fun.”

A.W. Beattie’s team, which is known as 2051 in FIRST Robotics, has been on a hot streak in 2019.

The team earned the Industrial Design Award in a regional competition in March against 44 other teams. The award is given to the school that best designs and builds a robot with elegance, efficiency and practicality.

Marcouiller also made headlines in April when he earned the FIRST Robotics Dean’s List Award, which is given to only 200 students out of 50,000 eligible participants across the country.

Bossong hopes the tournament win will encourage more students to join the team.

“We’ve seen our team numbers double in the last year,” Bossong said. “We’re definitely showing what we’re capable of doing, and I think that we’re seeing more students wanting to become team members as we have more success in competitions.”

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