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Virginia Teams Win Spots at World Robotics Championship

After a two-day tournament in Richmond that tested their teamwork and ingenuity, six Virginia high school teams have won the right to compete at the FIRST world robotics championship.

This year’s contest, Ultimate Ascent, challenged teams to design and build remote controlled robots that could fling Frisbee-type discs through targets. Robots that could climb pyramids on the competition field earned extra points.

Based on scores from a grueling series of qualifying and elimination matches at the FIRST Robotics Competition (FRC) Virginia Regional, a three-team alliance emerged victorious and members will go on to compete in St. Louis in late April:

  • The “Midlocanics,” based at Midlothian High School, which also includes students from several other Chesterfield County schools
  • “Builders of Tomorrow,” from Franklin High School in Franklin, Va.
  • “The STAGS,” from Piedmont Governors School for Mathematics, Science and Technology in Martinsville, Va.

Three other teams also earned a place at the FIRST Championship in St. Louis by virtue of their performance on and off the competition field in Richmond:

  • Team “Sparky,” from Tucker High School in Henrico County - named winner of the Virginia Regional Chairman’s Award, FIRST’s most prestigious award, honoring the team that, in the judges’ estimation, best represents a model for other teams to emulate, embodying the goals and mission of FIRST.
  • “Talon540, from Godwin High School in Henrico County - named winner of the Engineering Inspiration Award, celebrating outstanding success in advancing respect and appreciation for engineering and engineers, both within their school as well as their community.
  • “SuperNOVA,” a community based team which meets at Osbourn Park High School in Prince William County – honored as Rookie All Stars at the Virginia Regional.

The FRC Virginia Regional brought together 65 teams from Virginia and five eastern states. VCU’s Siegel Center played host to the event for the 14th year. More than 3,000 students, supporters and spectators turned out over the two day event to cheer on contestants. 

Additional Fun Facts about FRC teams nationwide:

  • More than 30 miles of wire
  • More than 50 miles of cable ties
  • Total weight of Kickoff Kits shipped is 2 1/2 times the weight of a Boeing 737
  • More than 3,000 trophies, 12,000 medlas, and 105,000 pins are distributed at FRC events
  • More than $16 million in Scholarships available

Watch this video report from WCVE Public Radio’s John Ogle:

About FIRST:
Accomplished inventor Dean Kamen founded FIRST® (For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology) in 1989 to inspire an appreciation of science and technology in young people. Based in Manchester, N.H., FIRST designs accessible, innovative programs to build self-confidence, knowledge, and life skills while motivating young people to pursue opportunities in science, technology, and engineering. Gracious Professionalism® is a way of doing things that encourages high-quality work, emphasizes the value of others, and respects individuals and the community. To learn more about FIRST, go to usfirst.org.

About VirginiaFIRST:
VirginiaFIRST is a regional non-profit affiliate of FIRST. Its mission is to make the FIRST Vision and Mission a reality for every young person in Virginia. To learn more about VirginiaFIRST, go to virginiafirst.org

Article by Jim Babb, VirginiaFIRST

Photographs by Bill Sigafoos, VirginiaFIRST

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Listen to this Science Matters report from WCVE Public Radio’s John Ogle.