Club History

Middleton High School (MHS) established a FIRST Robotics Competition Team in 2004. Team 1369 developed its name that paid homage to its original founders. The team used the first letter “M” from the high school and linked it with the mascot of its initial educational partner, the University of South Florida (mascot Bulls). This combination resulted in name MINOTAUR. As the club grew from 1 team to multiple teams in subsequent years, each team chose a name that begins with the original “M.” The robotics program was established to provide an educational opportunity for students to challenge them to solve real world problems. As the only STEM Magnet High School for Hillsborough County, FL, the school believed that FIRST provided the right program for its students to excel in their individual strengths and expose them to real world educational and career opportunities. FIRST provided the opportunity to teach students valuable life skills and nurture their passions for science and technology, while practicing Gracious Professionalism.

The robotics program has grown since from the 15 students and adults in 2004 to more than 150 students, adults, and corporate partners ion 2017. The popularity of the club has increased each year to the point where there is now a waiting list of students who want to attend Middleton High School. This competitive nature of students has meant the school’s magnet programs have flourished and are now recognized as top programs in the country.

Middleton is proud to be the only high school in western Florida and one of a few schools in the state to offer students the opportunity to earn a Varsity letter in robotics. Robotics students at Middleton are held on the same pedestal as the other sports teams.

FIRST Robotics Competition (FRC). Minotaur competed at the Peachtree Regional its first year and was on the winning alliance. The team then qualified for the World Championships in 2004, 2005, and 2007. The team experienced some difficulties with the loss of several mentors and students and its results in the lean years was less than desired. Due to last minute financial difficulties, the team did not compete during the 2011 season. With the addition of new adult mentors and ever increasing parental and business sponsorships, Minotaur has experienced a growth in performance and has a steady upward trend. In 2015, Minotaur was on the Finalist Alliance of the Georgia Southern Classic Regional and in 2016, won the Palmetto Regional. Minotaur qualified for and competed at the World Championship in 2015, 2016, 2017. Minotaur is positioned to once again compete at the highest levels. Throughout its existence, Minotaur has always prided itself on its community involvement.

 FIRST Tech Challenge (FTC). Due to the popularity of robotics and the increasing number of students interested, Middleton organized an additional team to supplement it’s FRC team. The program available at the time was the FIRST VEX Challenge (FVC) and thus FVC Team 1369 Minotaur was formed and competed in its inaugural season, Hanging A Round. In 2007 FIRST VEX Challenge was renamed FIRST Tech Challenge (FTC).

For the 2009-2010 season, Middleton added a second team based on increasing popularity.  FTC 3846 Aionos Tyfonos formed and competed in its inaugural season Hot Shot!   Middleton expanded again in 2009 with the addition of FTC 4997 Masquerade, who took their name using the original “M” concept. This required an influx of new adult mentors. The original FTC team took the same team number and name as it’s FRC founding team, so FTC 1369 Minotaur was born.

Team 3846 Aionios Tyfonos was formed during the 2009-2010 season as a direct result of the growth of the Middleton Robotics program.  The team took their name from the Greek words for “eternal hurricane” being that hurricanes are a fact of life in Florida.  At the time, the team members felt that 10 members was the correct number for one team.  At the same time, we were unwilling to turn away new members.  The Robotics Club therefore decided to split into two FTC teams.  The veteran team kept the team name and number, FTC 1369 Minotaur.  At the time, there were five members who decided to form a rookie team and thereby Aionios Tyfonos was born and competed in its inaugural season, Hot Shot!  In 2012, FTC 3846 changed its name to Maelstrom and changed its primary color from black/silver to blue/silver.

In 2010 due to continued popularity and growth in the robotics program, a 3rd FTC team was formed.  FTC 4997 Masquerade joined the club in the 2010-2011 season to bring the total to 3 competitive FTC teams. These teams have been successful at tournaments with wins and awards. The high point of Middleton’s FTC program was in 2012 season, Bowled Over, when FTC 4997 Masquerade was on the winning alliance at the World Championship.

In 2015 Middleton decided to reduce the number of competitive teams due to a lack of adult mentorship.  Falling victim to this down sizing was FTC 1369 Minotaur.  Middleton now fields two FTC teams and continues to achieve success.

VEX. The VEX program was started at Middleton in 2010 as an lower cost alternative for students and Team 6260 Indecisive competed in its inaugural season, Round Up.  In the 2012-2013 school year, Middleton added an additional VEX team and thus 6260B Theseus competed in its inaugural season, Sack Attack. The program grew to a high of 3 teams in 2014-2015, Skyrise with the addition of Team 6260M Masquerade. Following that year, however, the number of teams was reduced to 1 competitive team (VEX 6260) primarily due to loss of mentors. In the 2015-2016 season, the team took the name Minos. For the 2016-2017 season, the team again changed it’s name to Mercury.  Team Mercury continues to grow in success.

We are proud of our history.  We have a strong tradition of competing at a high level in FIRST and VEX while also being a model team in showing “gracious professionalism” as we compete.  We have mentored many teams. These teams and others in the FIRST community look to the Middleton as a model robotics program.  We continually strive to uphold that model for how a high school robotics program should be organized and how they should compete.

The current Middleton team is led by a great group of adult mentors from the business and education communities.  The success and stability of the teams is a direct result of the strong partnership between Middleton, business partners, and to the dedication of mentors, sponsors, and students.


Middleton robotics has been very successful at competitions winning several awards and recognition.

FIRST Championship Appearances14
World Championship Winning Alliance1
World Championship Finalist Alliance1
State Championship Winning Alliance7
State Championship Finalist Alliance5
State Championship Inspire Award1
Deans List Semifinalist5
Deans List Finalist4
Winning Alliance36
Finalist Alliance14
1st Place Robot Performance7
Amaze Award1
Best Mascot Award1
Boca Bearings Community Outreach Award1
Connect Award3
Creativity Award2
Inspire Award8
Judges Award1
Motivate Award2
Promote Award0
PTC Desgin Award5
Quality Award1
Robot Bling Award1
Rockwell Collins Innovate Award8
Safety Hard Hat Award1
Safety Star of the Day2
Think Award6
Gracious Professionalism Award2
VEX Design Award1


Past Club Leadership

Club President

2017-2018Erin Piacitelli
2016-2017Andrew Butt
2015-2016Alex DiMartino
2014-2015Aks Anand
2013-2014Jason Howard
2012-2013Riley McDonald
2011-2012Carson Wolf


FRC 1369
2017-2018Jonathan Zacharias
2016-2017Erin Piacitelli
Jack McFarlane
2015-2016Andrew Butt
2014-2015Nick Berglund
2013-2014Nick Berglund
2012-2013Elijah DeWolf
2011-2012Robbie Dougherty
FTC 1369
2014-2015Alex Stein
2013-2014Jon Roth
2012-2013Jon Roth
2011-2012Jasmine Santiago


FTC 3846
2017-2018Manu Gummaraju
2016-2017Adam Cook
Jonathan Goldney
2015-2016Varun Madabushi
2014-2015Mark Judy
2013-2014Brian Neuman
2012-2013Brian Neuman
2011-2012Mark Fernandez
FTC 4997
2017-2018Elijah Bond-Hawkins
2016-2017Forest Brown
2015-2016Kyle Coker
2014-2015Cory Kinney
2013-2014Adam Ward
2012-2013Jason Howard
2011-2012Jason Howard


VEX 6260
2017-2018Riccelo Guidorrizi
2016-2017Riccelo Guidorrizi
2015-2016Dmitry Podobreev
2014-2015Michael Ramos
2013-2014Aks Anand
VEX 6260B
2014-2015Tommy Tran
2013-2014Carlos Rodriguez
VEX 6260M
2014-2015Dmitry Podobreev