Carmel students advance to FTC Super-Regional robotics competition

Students from Carmel Catholic High School’s Varsity Robotics team (NYAN Robotics) are advancing  to the FIRST Tech Challenge (FTC) North Super-Regional robotics tournament March 29 - April 1 at the U.S. Cellular Center/DoubleTree Hotel & Convention Center in Cedar Rapids, IA. NYAN (Not Your Average Nerds) Robotics was part of the winning alliance that won the semifinals and finals at the Illinois state championship. They were also recipients of the coveted Connect and Control awards.

Working with their coaches and mentors, students designed and built a custom robot that uses 2 Android mobile phones as well as an array of metal parts, 3D printed parts, motors, sensors, and XBOX game controllers. The robot, which is 18 inches tall and 18 inches wide, will represent the team in the Velocity Vortex, an action-packed challenge that pits robots against one another in a test of precision, speed, and endurance.
The Super-Regional tournament follows many months of league and division robotics meets, where students work out technical bugs and perfect their robot’s mechanical, electrical, and programming operations and well as refine their technical presentation. In order to advance to the FIRST Tech Challenge North Super-Regional, a team’s robot must beat out other robots at qualifying tournaments or win a qualifying award. There are approximately 170 teams in Illinois broken down into leagues and divisions, that filter to the Illinois state championship. NYAN Is one of only nine teams from the state championship advancing to the super regional tournament.
NYAN's mission is to not only enhance their own STEM (Science Technology Engineering and Math) skills, but also to foster an interest in robotics and STEM within the community and at their school, and especially with youth. This season, NYAN hosted or participated in many community-based outreach programs and workshops, inspiring youth with their operational full scale BB-8 droid (made out of the same parts and brain as their competition robot), their operational Thor Hammer (“are you worthy?”), their virtual reality game they created of this year’s challenge, and their robot. They also promote themselves, Carmel Catholic, STEM, robotics, and FIRST® on their website, over social media, and in the community. Their website highlighting all of their activities can be found at


"It's so exciting to advance to super regionals this year," says Kevin Coda, captain of team NYAN. "It's a great opportunity for our team, now for the first time in our high school. We are so grateful that Carmel Catholic is now supporting NYAN as their varsity robotics team, and we are ecstatic that we are an integral part of the stout STEM program they are building."


FIRST’s mission is to inspire young people to be science and technology leaders, by engaging them in exciting mentor-based programs that build science, engineering, and technology skills, that inspire innovation, and that foster well-rounded life capabilities including self-confidence, teamwork, communication and leadership.


To view a video that explains the challenge these robots face this year, see the Velocity Vortex website::

Brian Donahoe,