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All female robotics team from John Bapst headed to world championships

Trio of girls have won more than 50% of state robitics tournaments
Published: Apr. 11, 2022 at 4:00 PM EDT
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BANGOR, Maine (WABI) - In May, a robotics team from John Bapst Memorial High School in Bangor will travel to Texas to compete in the VEX Robotics World Championship.

As Joy Hollowell reports, this particular team is giving manpower a whole new meaning.

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“We’re really, really excited to do this because we’re the first all girls team at our school.”

Samantha Ismail, Julianna Clark and Shannon Murphy are the trio that make up one of four robotics teams at John Bapst High School in Bangor.

Ismail, a junior, is the team captain.

“She’s probably one of the best if not the best captain I’ve worked with in the 15 years that I’ve been here,” says Head Coach Michael Murphy.

“I am the driver and the builder and the designer,” explains Shannon Murphy. She runs the remote control for the robot during tournaments.

“I do get very nervous,” Murphy admits. “Especially driving, it’s very scary for me. But after the first couple of matches, I tend to be okay.”

Clark. a sophomore at Bapst, is new to the team and robotics at the school.

“I do documentation.”

The process is tedious but imperative to the competition process. Clark estimates she’s spent more than 160 hours just on the notebook.

Basically the entire purpose of the notebook is so that if someone else was to look at it, they could replicate the entire process.”

During the timed tournaments, Ismail is in charge of strategy while Clark helps Murphy keep track of her time.

“They really gelled quickly and were able to have some early successes to build the confidence,” explains Murphy. “They’ve won more than 50% of the tournaments in the state.”

Clark says it didn’t take long for other competitors to realize there was something very different about this team.

“As we progressed, people starting to really notice like- Oh wow, you’re an all girl’s team? That’s crazy,” she says.

Troll is the name of the robot built by the girls for competition. And yes, there are two Troll dolls on each end along with a goofy, googly eyed face on the back, and pink rubber duckies on top. Now you could think this is all a distraction tactic for the other teams, right?

“Yeah, it’s more just decoration,” admits Murphy with a chuckle. “It looks really cool and we like to bling stuff out a bit.”

Now, Troll and its all-female team hope to wow the robotics world next month in Dallas, Texas, making their mark in a typically male-dominated competition.

“This was our big goal at the beginning of the year so we’re really excited to must be able to show off what we’ve been working so hard for and meet people who love to do the same thing,” says Ismail.

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John Bapst will be among 800 plus teams representing all continents, at the VEX robotics world championship,

The robotics team is accepting donations for its trip.

For more information, you can email the school at info@johnbapst.org

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