Galactic Narwal Chicken Effect Heading to Houston for Worlds


On Sunday, March 5, the Weston High School robotics team – Galactic Narwhal Chicken Effect (GNCE) won the Massachusetts State Championship overall FIRST Challenge Inspire Award and advances to the FIRST Championships in Houston. There they will compete with 160 other teams from around the world. I personally am eager to learn the names of their rivals because naming in robotics is super fun. Who knew? In addition to the team accomplishment, Ellie Tillman was individually recognized as one of three Dean’s List Finalists who will represent MA at Worlds.

Here’s the play-by-play by Team Coach Cary Gumbert:

“The veteran team had an amazing day. Everything came together with whatever they did last week perfecting the autonomous program. It finally worked at competition consistently to score 6 cones in 30 seconds and park all by itself. They had multiple heavy collisions with other robots during autonomous and survived unscathed and just kept on scoring. So amazing. 

“Unfortunately, the rookie team had some really bad luck with 2 different wires failing during the day. They quickly fixed one during lunch but we didn’t have a spare and couldn’t fix the second one which was really specialized. One of the other teams helped them but by that time it was after the preliminary matches and too late. “

The day was a learning experience for all, and the parts situation will not happen next year because there will be an inventory kept in the upcoming snazzy new Robotics Lab.

“Everyone learned a ton from the experience and it is super rare that a rookie team even qualifies for the state championships. We plan to bring a few students to Worlds to learn from the experience and to prepare them for next year.”

Cary was nominated by the team for the Compass Mentor Award. The Compass Award recognizes an adult coach or mentor who has given outstanding guidance and support to a team throughout the year and demonstrates to the team what it means to be a Gracious Professional.

The following is a personal note from Coach Cary to the Weston community:

“I wanted to express my sincere gratitude and thank you to the Weston community, WEEFC, administration and faculty for the very generous support to create a permanent home for the robotics program. It is so exciting that Weston will have the space and equipment necessary to expand the program to more students next year.”

” In addition, I wanted to acknowledge that many people have supported and advised the team over the year, and they are too numerous to shout out. But given the recent news of his upcoming retirement, I wanted to publicly thank and single out Mr. Gibbons , the Middle School principal, who has advocated for, mentored and supported these kids since they first started robotics 6 years ago. He has done so much to encourage and enable the kids to grow every year, even after middle school, it is difficult to imagine GNCE without him.”


Stay tuned for more, Weston! The Owl is going to fly along (figuratively) with GNCE so we can follow their great adventure! Congratulations to all, and go ‘cats!


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