Blackwater Robotics powered up for season

Published 10:54 am Wednesday, March 21, 2018

Now in its 18th year, the Blackwater Robotics Team 1610 from Franklin High School has already earned success during the annual FIRST Robotics Competition game. This time it’s FIRST Power Up, and the theme play is based on classic video games.

On March 10-11, the local team had won its own first district competition and the Quality Award during the FIRST Chesapeake Central Virginia Event. That took place at Deep Run High School in Glen Allen.

Brandon Yanna, who is the new team coach this year, posted details of that event on the FHS website. He stated that at the end of the 12 qualification matches performed, Blackwater Robotics was ranked 15th with a 6-6 record. The team was picked to ally with Team 401, Copperhead Robotics from Christiansburg and Team 346, The RoboHawks from Chesterfield, as a number six-seeded alliance.

Furthermore, “In the quarterfinals, the alliance easily breezed through the quarterfinals and advanced against the third seeded alliance with scores of 421-254 and 370-259.

“In the semifinals, the alliance took on the number two seed, again easily advancing to the finals with scores 404-167 and 387-255.

“In the finals, in a showdown between the number six and number one seed, the first match was very competitive with our alliance securing winning with a score of 358-318.

“After that match, it was discovered Team 384 on the opposing alliance was unable to return to the field due to a mechanical issue, setting up a three-on-two robot battle that secured the win for our alliance with a final score 425-237.”

That put Blackwater Robotics at 12-6 in district play and enabled the team to participate in the next found of competition, which occurred this past weekend at Churchland High School in Portsmouth.

Between those weekends, the team met last Wednesday at the old Charles Street gym beside J.P. King Jr. Middle School. Kyle Johnson, a team advisor of many years, told The Tidewater News that the team was allowed that evening to remove the robot from a bag for a couple of hours in order to perform maintenance and do some practice for the next round of competition.

On Monday, former coach Liz Burgess reported that Blackwater Robotics had made the semi-finals.

This means the team is still able to participate at the district championship in the University of Maryland on March 28-31.

She added that the group also earned an Excellence in Engineering award.

[Editor’s note: This story corrects a line that originally stated the team had lost in the quarterfinals.]