BHS on 2nd-place team at robotics competition

The Bainbridge High School Spartronics team placed second at the first Robotics District Event at Glacier Peak High School March 3.

It lost a tiebreaker in the final double-elimination match. Spartronics was presented with a banner, team medals and a plaque.

It was the debut of Spartronics robot NEMESIS, the most advanced and sophisticated robot the team has ever built, a BHS news release says. NEMESIS features artificial intelligence, with an AI-powered note finder – the game piece the robot must pick up to shoot or place to score. After this first week of competition, Spartronics is ranked 25th among the 148 teams in the Pacific Northwest Division, which includes teams from Washington and Oregon.

While Spartronics finished regular matches at Glacier Peak with a 4-7-1 record and ranked 30th among 34 teams, it was selected by the No. 2 Alliance leader Mountlake Terrace Chill Out and its first pick, Lynnwood Royal Robotics, to compete for the quarterfinals. Spartronics, Chill Out and Royal Robotics finished the playoffs with a 4-2 record.

Jackson High School, with one of the highest-ranked teams in the World in recent years, won the competition, along with Bremerton and Lincoln high schools. Spartronics and its No. 2 Alliance beat Jack-in-the-Bot in the semifinals 89-65 and then again in the second finals match 89-61 but lost twice to the No. 1 Alliance in the finals 82-40 and 94-75.

At the helm of NEMESIS was the Spartronics Drive Team, including Everett Wilmes, Troy Edwards, Zack Huck and Joseph Tappen. BHS coach Austin Smith said: “Watching our students build a robot from scratch and seeing that robot nearly win its first competition was simply incredible. The robot failed several times, as brand new, untested technology does, but the best part was how the students recovered and overcame every obstacle as they improved with each match.”

Spartronics will compete at Bonney Lake High School (open to the public, free to attend, and also live-streamed) March 15-17 in its final regular competition. If Spartronics qualifies for the PNW District Championship it will be April 4-6 in Portland.

In its 11th season, Spartronics has 40 students and 15 professional mentors, led by BHS Robotics and biology teacher Austin Smith, now in his second year as coach. More than 250 students have been Spartronic members, the vast majority attending colleges, and now dozens in the workforce, many in technology professions at firms including Amazon, Meta, Epic Systems and IBM. For details go to

Each year in early January FIRST reveals a new game to some 3,500 teams with 86,700 students in 32 countries. Within 10 weeks, each team designs and builds a robot of up to 125 pounds to compete in a 3 robot vs. 3 robot competition, held on a field the size of a basketball court.