Secaucus students win second in robotics competition

The 18-member club met in-person and virtually amid the pandemic

A relatively new club at the Secaucus High School has already made waves nationally in the robotics community, according to the town.

The Secaucus Robotics Club recently participated for the first time in a nationwide competition held by the Kiss Institute of Practical Robotics (KIPR), the town announced in the May newsletter. The club placed first in the Seeding Rounds and 2nd in the Double Elimination Rounds, giving it an overall rank of second in the nation.

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Crashing and recoding

The Robotics Club currently has 18 members. But due to COVID-19 restrictions, only seven members were allowed to work in-person on the robot in Club Advisor Marissa Capobianco’s classroom. More often than not, the team met and worked virtually to create a robot capable of completing tasks on an eight-by-eight-foot board.

The experience was filled with ups and downs. The day before the competition, the operating system on one of the computers on the robot crashed. Frantic hours of troubleshooting led to a final fix and re-testing of the robot.

On the day of the competition, the team was both excited and apprehensive. The day unfolded with quite a bit of drama—unexpected snags, two disastrous rounds, more revisions and recoding on breaks between rounds. A last-minute solution came just in time for the final Seeding Round.

The team scored highest, putting it in first place leading to the Elimination Rounds. The team proceeded undefeated until the Final Round where they could not overtake the team from Los Altos, California.

In the end, the Secaucus High School team won second place. The team also won the Judge’s Choice Award for the best overall robot and skills.

For updates on this and other stories, check and follow us on Twitter @hudson_reporter. Daniel Israel can be reached at

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