Make your own free website on






Mt. Olive High/County College of Morris 

FIRST Robotics Team-2001

Sponsored by:

BASF Mt.Olive

    Givoudan Corporation

        Nymar Manufacturing

            Rectus Corporation

                Lucent PRC, Mt.Olive


Final results from the 2001 FIRST National Contest at EPCOT/Florida are in! Our team finished in 19th place out of 340 other words, we beat over 94% of the teams.....definitely an "A" effort! (we've still got some east-coast events ahead of us) Pictures taken at EPCOT are at the bottom of this page.



The image above was our preliminary model, based on ideas and input from the team (SolidWorks image thanks to Dave Mooney). 

Drawing a picture of it is one thing.........making the actual robot took an enormous effort by dozens of people for 6 weeks (generally 7 nights a week). Our team was lead by Mt. Olive High School  teacher, Bill McGowan. Bill is the very definition of "a super-dedicated, over-the-top, high-energy leader" (he also considers "relentless slave driving" a sport). Adult team members include Ernie DiCicco, Mike Marvin , Dave Mooney and Jason Ianuzzi (both from Everest/VIT Corp), Nial McCabe, John Klages and Dom D'Stefan (all from CCM), Keith Wood and Matt Wood (CCM alums) and dozens of supportive parents. Of course, the students (from Mt. Olive High and several from CCM) did much of the "grunt" work and were the real heart of the team.


The Mt. Olive High / CCM FIRST Robotics Team held their 2001 Kick Off meeting in the CCM Learning Resource Center on Jan 6, 2001. The meeting date coincided with the official FIRST simulcast, “revealing” this year’s contest.

The CCM Media Department provided a NASA-cable hookup so that the simulcast could be viewed by the estimated 100 attendees. 

Along with Morris-based team (which included school faculty, students and parents), a rookie team from Montville also attended the simulcast.

Other attendees included:

Paul Licitra            (Mayor of Mount Olive)

Tom Marotta         (CEO, Marotta Scientific)

William Robinson   (Mount Olive School Board)

Marilyn Persico     (Principal of Mount Olive High)

Planned Team Schedule:

March 8-10             NASA Langley (Virginia Commonwealth University) Richmond, Va.

March 15-17      Mid Atlantic Regional (Rutgers University) New Brunswick, NJ

April 5-7         National Championship (EPCOT), Orlando, Fla.

Summer 2001     proposed Pennsylvania Regional event

Fall 2001         NJ “Demo” Regional at Mt. Olive High, Flanders, NJ ______________________________________________________ how did we do at Rutgers?'s like this. We had a lot of fun and the kids learned a lot about teamwork, technology and the real world. This year FIRST used a sort of experimental scoring system and contest (it changes every year). The format was designed to level the playing field (so that rookie teams would be at less of a disadvantage). In concept, it was a great idea, but the format had a tendency to negate the benefits of experienced teams like ours. That said, we beat about 50% of the teams in Langley/NASA, Virginia (sounds like something Garrison Keillor would say). At the Rutgers event, we scored in the top third. As can be seen by the note at the top of the page, we did our best work at the National FIRST Contest in EPCOT/Florida.


Mario and "Swaz" provide some finishing touches, just before shipping to Langley-NASA, Va.



Team pushes the "Bot" out into the competition area.



Andy Klages and his dad (Prof. John Klages), troubleshoot for a bothersome electrical "short", just prior to first Rutgers practice on Thursday.



Mt. Olive teacher (and team slave driver), Bill McGowan "strategizes" with the crew. 



Taken in the Rutgers "Old Gym" on practice day (Thursday). This part of the Gym served as a "pit area" where emergency repairs could be made. About 50 teams shared this area. The place was like a beehive, with power tools buzzing and loud Hip-Hop music playing. Between practice sessions, students walked around and "scouted" other teams, learning their strengths and weaknesses. All this data was recorded on a laptop and compiled for strategy during the actual event.



For the Klages family, FIRST is a family affair.


Team members constantly monitor the electronics. 



(Above) An example of one of the complex engineered parts built for the robot at CCM by Engineering Tech students and staff (using computerized CNC equipment).



Jason Iannuzzi synchronizing radio control units.


CCM alum Matt Wood looks on as volunteer Dave Mooney does a temporary repair with "Crazy Glue".



Linda Lower (CCM CPP) contemplates the exciting career of Robotics Engineering.


At the "starting gate"



End of the day at Rutgers: Team Manager Ernie DiCiccio oversees packing of the robot into a special crate for shipping to Disney Florida. By the time the rest of the team gets to Florida, the robot will have already been there for three weeks (presumably tanned, relaxed and ready to go).

EPCOT 2001 photos below......

The team at EPCOT, including adult members Bill McGowan (left), MOHS Principal Marilyn Persico (center) and Ernie DiCicco (right).

Our robot takes to the field at EPCOT 2001 (team drivers are on left side of photo, behind safety barrier).


Note: no robots were injured, mistreated or in any way harmed during the developement of this web page.


Background on FIRST Robotics:

The concept of FIRST came from Dean Kamen (lately, more well-known as the creator of the mysterious "Ginger/It" invention). In Dean's view, modern young people have the wrong kind of "heroes". He points out that overpaid sports stars and rock singers are the "heroes" of many of today's youth. Some of the more notorious "millionaire heroes" are terrible role models, and even the well-behaved ones provide a social value that is limited to "entertainment". Against this view, Dean notes the enormous social value of people in science and engineering. He laments the fact that kids may know the RBI average of a certain baseball player but may not know who discovered the cure for Polio. He would see the invention of the heart pacemaker or automotive air bag as a much more powerful social contribution than a display of skills with a hockey stick or guitar. Dean sees many of our social values as "turned upside down", in favor of less important "entertainment oriented" values. His efforts with FIRST are to correct the notion that being smart is "uncool" or for "nerds". An important part of the FIRST concept involves "raising the bar" in American education by emphasizing science, writing skills, math and engineering (for more info, go to:

Prof McCabe's Home Page

Free plans for building working model steam engines...developed by community college engineering students...very easy to build and understand....great fun!

CCM Engineering/Technology

  Thanks Dale............