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Isabel Wiemken

Team 3309 with their robot at Beach Blitz.

Servite High School’s robotics team, Friarbots Team 3309, placed second and received the Finalist Award trophy at the Beach Blitz 2021 off-season competition in Aliso Viejo, California on Nov. 7. The Friarbots competed against 33 of the western region’s best robotics teams from California and Idaho, said Servite Robotics Coordinator and Lead Mentor Evan Smith. 

The Friarbots spent most of their summer and fall semester designing, fabricating, and building a new robot specifically for this year’s event held at Aliso Niguel High School. The robot, which stood 3 feet tall and weighed 125 pounds, was completed with little time to spare and left the team with only one day for programming and driving practice before competition, said Smith. 

This year’s objective at Beach Blitz was to shoot several dodgeballs eight feet high and to hang on a bar to raise the robot off the ground at the end of the match, said Minseung “Nathan” Kim, Servite 12th-grader and engineering president of Team 3309. “We had to practice and smooth out some issues during the actual competition. But by the end, we had fixed all of the problems in the robot and it performed reliably,” said Servite 12th-grader and Team 3309 member Nathan Barfield.   

Team 3309's robot on the far left hanging on the bar at the end of a match.

After finishing in second place overall, Kim said, “I feel that the hundreds of hours that we spent on the robot was worth it. I gained a lot of confidence that we can do well if we put in a big effort.”

The Friarbots were established in 2009 to help expand Servite High School’s math and science programs and to give students opportunities to explore their personal strengths and potential career paths. Servite Robotics is an ideal example of Servite’s holistic formation process, which focuses on the development of the whole self in each student in all aspects of his high school experience. 

“The process of building a robot and competing helped me realize who I am and what I can do to help others. Robotics is the biggest reason why I chose engineering as my future career. Robotics provided real-life engineering experiences that high school students don’t always get. I’ve learned innovative thinking and problem-solving that could be used not only in college but in my future job,” said Kim. 

Mentor Evan Smith coaches students of Team 3309's drive team. 

Team 3309 has co-hosted Beach Blitz with three other teams since 2016 and welcomes more than 40 teams and 30 volunteers each year. The Friarbots won Beach Blitz in 2016, and won the Gracious Professionalism award at Beach Blitz 2017. After a remote competition in 2020 due to Covid-19, the Friarbots are most excited about competing in person again, said Smith. 

For more news and information about Friarbots Team 3309, visit

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