The tournaments are organized by FIRST (For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology) an international non-profit dedicated to helping to prepare young people for successful careers in a world increasingly dependent on technology.
FRC teams had just six weeks to design, build and program their robots. This year’s environment-themed contest called “Recycle Rush” challenged the remote controlled robots to organize and stack storage totes while grappling with pool noodles scattered on the competition floor.
Sixty-four high school robotics squads from Virginia, three other eastern states, plus teams from Brazil and the Netherlands converged on VCU’s Siegel Center March 20-21 for The FRC Virginia Regional.
Three veteran teams from Henrico County and a rookie squad from Petersburg will represent central Virginia in St. Louis April 23-25. Here are the teams that earned spots to the Championship during the Virginia Regional:
- “Sparky 384” from J.R. Tucker H.S. in Henrico County; this year will be Sparky’s 12th trip to the FIRST world Championship
- “Talon 540” from Mills Godwin H.S. in Henrico
- Team “Blue Cheese” from Deep Run H.S. in Henrico
- Team “A.R.T.” from the Appomattox Regional Governor’s School won the Rookie All Stars Award
- Team “Triple Helix 2363” from Menchville H.S. in Newport News
- “Builders of Tomorrow” from Franklin City Schools in Franklin, Va., winning their third trip in a row to the Championship
- “Team Rembrandts” from Eindhoven, the Netherlands; team members said they were glad they had made the 4,000 mile trip to compete in Richmond.
The Virginia Regional attracted thousands of spectators to cheer on the contestants. In addition to visiting business leaders, Virginia Congressman Dave Brat, R-7th, visited with students at the tournament and acknowledged he was impressed.
“I’ve been an educator my whole life,” said Rep. Brat. “This should be integrated in K-12 education in every school district in the country.”
Over the same March 20-21weekend, the FTC East Super Regional attracted 72 teams from Virginia to Maine to the University of Scranton in Pennsylvania.
Four Virginia teams in the FTC division earned spots in Scranton to compete in the world Championship:
- Team “Vertigo” from Albemarle H.S.
- The “Tuxedo Pandas” a community-based team in the Christiansburg area
- “The Evil Purple Sox” a community team from Lebanon, Va.
- “Ed Too – Pokemon Trainers” from Herndon H.S. in Herndon, Va.
FIRST offers age-appropriate enrichment programs for students in grades K-12. Nearly 10,000 students participated in FIRST programs in Virginia in the 2014-15 competition season, and nearly 2,700 adults contributed their time as team mentors or event volunteers.
Learn more at virginiafirst.org
Story by: Jim Babb/VirginiaFIRST
Photos by: Page Dowdy/VirginiaFIRST