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A CHARGED UP ending to the FIRST ENERGIZE robotics season in New England

The Big E in West Springfield, Mass., was excited to host 90 teams in two divisions from all over New England as they competed like crazy to see who would take home the title of New England District Champions! All six states were represented and teams were excited to see who would earn one of 32 qualifying spots at the FIRST Championship in Houston, Texas, two weeks later.


It was amazing to bring everyone together for this incredible celebration of FIRST and STEM in our district. We even did our best to fit everyone into one photo on Saturday morning in the break between alliance selection and divisional playoffs!



Each division of 45 teams ran 90 qualification matches, had their own alliance selection and playoffs tournament, and crowned champions and other award winners. Though the high score of the event was 225 with penalties, the Meir Division saw an almost perfect score of 191/193, in penalty-free qualification match 71.


After lunch on Saturday, the Meir Division Champion Alliance went up against the Wilson Division Champion Alliance to crown the true winners of the New England District Championship. Congratulations to the Wilson Division Champions who came out victorious!


We want to make next year even better: read on to see all of the great activities and award winners on and off the field, and fill out this comprehensive event survey to help us improve for 2024!




For the second year in a row we were able to plan a dual-field district championship, and the event planning committee identified two New England natives to serve as inspiration for our division names for teams competing on these fields: Jessica MEIR and Stephanie WILSON.


Jessica Meir is an astronaut and scientist from Caribou, Maine, studying the physiology of animals in extreme environments (like space!). She was selected by NASA in 2013 and has spent 205 days in space. Meir was part of the first all-female spacewalk in 2019!


Stephanie Wilson is an astronaut and engineer from Boston, Massachusetts, with research focused on the control and modeling of large, flexible space structures. She was selected by NASA in 1996 and has flown on three separate space shuttle missions.


These two also inspire us together: Wilson was the ground controller in Houston for Meir's spacewalk, and both have been part of the Artemis program, with its first crewed flight to the moon (Artemis 2) planned for late 2024. Each division's winning alliance competed in the ARTEMIS ARENA for the finale matches on Saturday afternoon


Outside of the CHARGED UP matches throughout Thursday and Friday, teams were able to participate in a variety of activities and projects. Whether they helped our community service project of making a cat toy to donate to the Dakin Humane Society in Springfield, or just had fun with a scavenger hunt or Mario Kart tournaments, there was something for everyone!


Between robot matches in the Coliseum and the robot pits in the Young Building, the A Barn was full of colleges and universities in Scholarship Row, local companies in Sponsor Row, massive combat robots from Aberrant Robotics and even members of the 501st Legion. We also had our district Engineering Inspiration and Rookie All-Star teams who were competing for awards without their robot at the event, ready to tell their stories to invited guests.


Special thanks to Northwest Designs for creating commemorative shirts for the occasion that anyone could customize and purchase!


We made sure to bring every FIRST program under one roof, with a FIRST Tech Challenge field and matches to show off POWER PLAY and FIRST LEGO League Challenge tables and teams to show off SUPER POWERED. There was even a relaxing LEGO free-for-all building table!



Thank you to the New England companies looking to inspire the next generation of employees with their support:

  • BAE Systems

  • Mathworks

  • United States Air Force

  • GE Aerospace

  • Hack Club Bank

And thank you to the colleges and universities, many of whom brought in FIRST alumni to chat with current students about next steps after high school:

  • Western New England University

  • University of Connecticut

  • Wentworth Institute of Technology

  • Merrimack College

  • Southern New Hampshire University

Special thanks to our event speakers, many of whom also represented local NE FIRST sponsors, for joining us during opening ceremonies to share their STEM journeys and :

  • Shab Smith, an alumna of FRC 178, The 2nd Law Enforcers, and engineering director for NE FIRST Presenting Sponsor BAE Systems

  • Lieutenant Ryan Cramer from the United States Space Force

  • Dr. Robert Johnston, President of NE FIRST event host and alma mater of many FIRST alumni, Western New England University

  • Kevin Fogarty, FIRST alum and program manager at NE FIRST Leader in Technology Sponsor, Medtronic



This event would not have been possible without the efforts of more than 200 incredible volunteers, whether they planned for months for a great team experience or they held field and pit roles to make everything run smoothly all weekend. Shoutout to our event planning committee for all of their work: THANK YOU for all you did to make the 2023 New England District Championship a success!

  • Kari Karwedsky & Jamee Luce, Committee Chairs

  • David Givens, Senior Judge Advisor

  • Sam Spain & Jen Mulcare, Senior Volunteer Coordinators

  • Ken St. Hilaire & Stacey Hilton, FIRST Senior Mentors

  • Kristine Atiyeh, Blake Bourque, Tim Chase, Kyle Henry, Justin Holmes, Samantha Kirsh, Sam Lounsbury & Brennan Macaig, Committee Members



Check out these presentations used throughout the event to:

  1. Celebrate each of the 10 FIRST Impact Award winners, 10 Engineering Inspiration Award winners, 10 Rookie All-Star Award winners, and 20 Dean's List Semi-Finalists from each of the 2023 New England District Events

  2. Let teams highlight their Woodie Flowers Finalist Award nominees for this year (this list is not complete; message us if you want to add your mentor!)

  3. Recognize our great 2023 sponsors on The Big E's jumbotron!



Congratulations to our NE FIRST District Championship Finale and Cultural Award Winners:


Volunteer of the Year: Candie Desjardins, Senior Judge Advisor


Woodie Flowers Finalist Awards:

Nick Galotti from FRC 1735, Green Reapers from Worcester, MA

Elizabeth Giovanardi from FRC 2713, Red Hawk Robotics from Melrose, MA


Dean's List Finalists:

Connor G. from FRC 173, Rage Robotics from Tolland, CT

Ana-Lois D. from FRC 176, Aces High from Windsor Locks, CT

Autumn S. from FRC 1100, Inverse Polarity from Northborough/Southborough, MA

Kevin Y. from FRC 2877, LigerBots from Newton, MA

Asher C. from FRC 7407, Wired Boars from Wallingford, CT


FIRST Impact Awards:

FRC 166, Chop Shop from Merrimack, NH

FRC 1071, Team MAX from Wolcott, CT

FRC 3654, TechTigers from Middletown, CT

FRC 6328, Mechanical Advantage from Littleton, MA


Engineering Inspiration Awards:

FRC 5422, Stormgears from Westford, MA

FRC 5459, Ipswich TIGERS from Ipswich, MA


Rookie All-Star Award:

FRC 9101, Green Mountain Robotics from Burlington, VT


New England District Championship Winners:

FRC 1757, Wolverines from Westwood, MA

FRC 176, Aces High from Windsor Locks, CT

FRC 1699, Robocats from Colchester, CT


New England District Championship Finalists:

FRC 133, B.E.R.T. from Standish, ME

FRC 7407, Wired Boars from Wallingford, CT

FRC 238, Crusaders from Manchester, NH



Congratulations to all Wilson Division award winners:


NE FIRST District Championship Wilson Division Champions:

FRC 1757, Wolverines from Westwood, MA

FRC 176, Aces High from Windsor Locks, CT

FRC 1699, Robocats from Colchester, CT

NE FIRST District Championship Wilson Division Finalists:

FRC 177, Bobcat Robotics from South Windsor, CT

FRC 6328, Mechanical Advantage from Littleton, MA

FRC 467, Colonials from Shrewsbury, MA


Judges' Award: FRC 178, The 2nd Law Enforcers from Farmington, CT

Team Sustainability Award: FRC 4909, Bionics from Billerica, MA

Rookie Inspiration Award: FRC 9055, Knights of Katahdin from Wilton, ME

Excellence in Engineering Award: FRC 1757, Wolverines from Westwood, MA

Innovation in Control Award: FRC 230, Gaelhawks from Shelton, CT

Industrial Design Award sponsored by General Motors: FRC 1768, Nashoba Robotics from Nashoba, NH

Quality Award: FRC 1073, The Force Team from Hollis, NH

Creativity Award sponsored by Rockwell Automation: FRC 88, TJ2 from Bridgewater, MA

Autonomous Award sponsored by Ford: FRC 6933, Archytas from Bethel, VT

Team Spirit Award: FRC 175, Buzz Robotics from Enfield, CT

Gracious Professionalism Award: FRC 509, Red Storm from Bedford, NH

Imagery Award in honor of Jack Kamen: FRC 4048, Redshift from Westborough, MA




Congratulations to all Meir Division award winners:


NE FIRST District Championship Meir Division Champions:

FRC 133, B.E.R.T. from Standish, ME

FRC 7407, Wired Boars from Wallingford, CT

FRC 238, Crusaders from Manchester, NH

NE FIRST District Championship Meir Division Finalists:

FRC 195, Cyberknights from Southington, CT

FRC 8085, MOJO from Milford, CT

FRC 4564, Orange Chaos from Brewer, ME


Judges' Award: FRC 6153, Blue Crew from Farmington, ME

Team Sustainability Award: FRC 2370, IBOTS from Rutland, VT

Excellence in Engineering Award: FRC 6324, The Blue Devils from Salem, NH

Innovation in Control Award: FRC 8708, Ov3R1y K0Mp13X from Dunbarton, NH

Industrial Design Award sponsored by General Motors: FRC 172, Northern Force from Falmouth/Gorham, ME

Quality Award: FRC 6329, The Bucks' Wrath from Bucksport, ME

Creativity Award sponsored by Rockwell Automation: FRC 4905, Andromeda One from Ayer, MA

Autonomous Award sponsored by Ford: FRC 5687, The Outliers from Portland, ME

Team Spirit Award: FRC 7153, Aetos Dios from Manchester, CT

Gracious Professionalism Award: FRC 7407, Wired Boars from Wallingford, CT

Imagery Award in honor of Jack Kamen: FRC 2877, LigerBots from Newton, MA


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