Central Robotics Team Heads To World Championships

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Central Robotics is heading to the FIRST World Championships. Photo/MSD

MANCHESTER, N.H. – After a strong finish at the New England District championship this weekend, Central High’s FIRST Robotics team, FRC 131 –  CHAOS, is headed to the World Championships. The global competition is set for April 17-20 in Houston, Texas and will host 600 teams from around the world, with 31 teams from New England.

At the New England District Championship this last weekend, Team CHAOS won the Ganson division as the captain of the second seeded alliance, advancing to the finals to compete with the winner of the Richardson division. Out of 215 teams in New England, CHAOS ranked 6th for the season.

“This team did an amazing job designing and building a robot to compete at the highest levels of FIRST robotics, while still finding time to run a workshop at McDonough Elementary school and demonstrating their robot at the Manchester Proud Spring into Summer Event,” said Central teacher and team adviser C.J. Chretien.

Central’s robotics team was founded in 1992, just three years after inventor Dean Kamen founded FIRST (For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology). This weekend’s triumph is the first event win for CHAOS since 2012, and this will be the team’s first trip to the World Championships since 2017.

“It’s been a long time coming for the team and I’m so happy we were able to pull it off this year after the last 2 years making it to finals at district champs in 2022 and at UNH district event in 2023,” said   team member Caiden Bryde, a senior at Central. “The team is really hitting it out of the park and I hope we continue to do so after I graduate.  This team wouldn’t be possible without our amazing mentors who helped us get the opportunity to go to the world championship.“

Also competing last weekend was Memorial’s FRC 238 Crusaders squad, which competed well but did not advance. The Crusaders won the New England title in 2022 and won their division in  2023, meaning that a Manchester school has been tops in the region three years in a row. The PowerKnights, a co-op team that includes students from West High and Goffstown High, also qualified for the New England championships but did not compete.

“We could not be more proud of all three of our teams – students, advisors and volunteers alike – on an outstanding FIRST season,” said Superintendent of Schools

Jennifer Chmiel Gillis. “We are excited to cheer on Team CHAOS as they head to the World Championships next week, and when they are back in New Hampshire, we plan to bring all the teams to celebrate before the Board of School Committee.”

In prior years, robotics teams have raised money in order to attend the world championships – and that has been a barrier to participation. For this year’s competition, Interim Assistant Superintendent Nicole Doherty began working early to secure funding to support robotics teams if they qualified for the global competition. She said it was important to support these teams not just because of the work they’ve put it, but also because it opens up career pathways for students.

“The students have been pouring their hearts into this all year – coding, constructing, and battling it out,” Doherty said. “FIRST robotics sets the stage for the future workforce. Here in Manchester, we’re all about empowering students with the skills to thrive in tomorrow’s job market and continue on to higher education. I’m incredibly proud that our students are in for an unforgettable experience, joining over 50,000 attendees, 18,000 student participants from the U.S. and 56 countries, and 965 competing robotics teams. Wishing Central CHAOS the best of luck!”

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Manchester School District