Two Johnston robotics team advance to state championship

JOHNSTON, IA (Feb. 14, 2022) — Two Johnston robotics teams have qualified for the 2022 FIRST Tech Challenge-Iowa Championship, to be held Feb. 18-19 at The Xtream Arena at Coralville.

Thor (in green) and Disco Duckbots (in yellow) qualified for state this past weekend after competing in the Central Iowa Super Qualifier. Twenty-four teams participated in the super qualifier including teams from Waukee, Ankeny, Ames, Pella and Norwalk. Sixteen teams were selected to move on to state.

Robotics2THOR: Team members for team Thor include freshman Kathir Kalyanarman; sophomores Ben Fishcer, Ella Moody and Erica Waters; junior Nichlus Jaeger and seniors Ava Fishcer and Inesh Gogenini.

The team took 2nd Place for the Inspire award, given to the team that best embodies the challenge of the FIRST Tech Challenge program. The team that receives this award is a strong ambassador for FIRST programs and a role model FIRST team.

Thor also earned 2nd Place in the Think award, given to the team that best reflects the journey the team took as they experienced the engineering design process during the build season. In addition, Thor was a finalist Alliance team.Robotics1

DISCO DUCKBOTS: Team members for team Disco Duckbots include eighth graders Ahana Devadas and Lydia Luo; freshmen Aravind Balaji, Abigail Good, Gabriela La Rota, Shreyas Shrestha, Nikolay Silkin and Lauren Weber; and sophomore Clark Slauson.

The team took 1st Place in the Control Award, given to the team that demonstrates innovative thinking to solve game challenges such as autonomous operation, improving mechanical systems with intelligent control, or using sensors to achieve better results. Disco Duckbots was also a semifinalist Alliance team.

FIRST (For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology) Tech Challenge is designed for those who want to compete head to head, using a sports model. Teams of students are responsible for designing, building, and programming their robots to compete in an alliance format against other teams. The robot kit is reusable from year-to-year, and is programmed using a variety of languages. Teams, including coaches, mentors, and volunteers are required to develop strategy and build robots based on sound engineering principles. Awards are given for the competition as for well as for community outreach, design, and other real-world accomplishments.

Visit for more information about robotics in Johnston.