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The student news site of Westwood High School.

Westwood Horizon

The student news site of Westwood High School.

Westwood Horizon

Robotics FTC Teams Set Records at Third FiT GEMS League Meet

Avi Rajesh
Concentrated, Tomahawk drivers Abraham Lira ’24 and Akaash Reddy ’25 steer their robot during a match. After their third competition of the year, Tomahawk earned the title of ninth in the world and first in the GEMS league.

Dominating in their third meet of the year, six For Robotics Inspiration and Recognition in Science and Technology (FIRST) Tech Challenge (FTC) teams competed on Sunday, Dec. 2. Prior to this competition, the FIRST in Texas Central GEMS, teams were given 12 weeks to create and program a robot to fit this year’s challenge, named CENTERSTAGE. 

Each team competed in five matches and was assigned to a random “alliance partner” who they would collaborate with for each match. Westwood Team Tomahawk won four out of five matches, finishing first in the GEMS league and ninth in the world. Team Slingshot won two out of five matches and set a world record for most points scored with penalties. Exemplifying program caliber, team AtlAtl won one out of five matches, team Hunga Munga won two out of five, team Arrowhead won four out of five, and team Boomerang won three out of five.

Tomahawk began the meet strong, winning their first match 162-60. They then continued their streak, defeating AtlAtl 206-100. The third match ended Tomahawk’s streak with a close 100-104 loss, but Tomahawk driver, one of two people responsible for operating the robot during the match, Abraham Lira ‘24 persevered despite the setback.

“It wasn’t until after we lost [our third match] that I lost some of that panic,” Lira said. “When you [continue to win every match], it’s stressful because you want to keep winning.”

For their fourth match, Tomahawk’s randomly selected partner was Arrowhead. Through efficient strategizing, the match was a Westwood victory with a final score of 146-137.

“With every alliance [the strategy] is different,” Lira ‘24 said. “You have to look at their robot and what they can and can’t do, and also you have to look at your opponents’ robots.”

The stakes were high as Tomahawk entered their final match; to end the competition with a leading rank, Tomahawk required a final win. With his team depending on him, Lira stayed collected, leading to a final score of 132-76.

“Once you’re in the moment, especially if you had a successful start, it really helps you zone in,” Lira ‘24 said. “It kind of takes away the pressure of driving.” 

In addition to Tomahawk, Slingshot also found success. Alongside team MegaKnytes from Hill Country Christian School, Slingshot scored 300 points in their fourth match, beating the current world record.

“It felt pretty spectacular at that moment,” Slingshot driver Souren Uchat ‘26 said. “It inspired us to continue performing that well during league championships and onward.” 

Despite Slingshot losing their first three matches, Uchat remained collected and focused on his goal of achieving the world record.

“Part of being a driver is that when you’re driving, you don’t feel nervous or anything,” Uchat ‘26 said. “You only feel nerves before and after matches- you’re just zoned in.”

Slingshot, partnered with Arrowhead, won their final match of the day 142-84, ending the competition in 12th place.

“I think we did very well,” Uchat ‘26 said. “Those two games were the highlights of the competition.”

The Westwood Robotics FTC teams will be back to compete in the FIRST in Texas Central GEMS League Championships on Jan. 27.

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About the Contributor
Avi Rajesh
Avi Rajesh, Reporter
Class of 2025
Hi! I've always loved photo and video editing, and I'm super excited to be a part of student press. A couple of my hobbies involve cooking, baking, and robotics. In my free time I love to listen to music, play the cello, and drink bubble tea!

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