Blackwater Robotics to compete internationally

Published 6:59 pm Tuesday, April 16, 2019

Team won at FIRST Chesapeake Championship


FIRST Robotics Competition Team “Blackwater Robotics” from Franklin High School, will face the top competitors from around the world at the FIRST Championship presented by Qualcomm in Detroit, Michigan, on April 24-27.

The EagleBank Arena at George Mason University was the site of the FIRST Chesapeake Championship last weekend. That’s where the Blackwater Robotics Team 1610 performed and then won a place to compete on the international level on April 24-27 in Detroit, Michigan. — Courtesy Mark J. Lucas FIRST Chesapeake

The team won a spot at the international tournament during the FIRST Chesapeake Championshp this past weekend in George Mason University’s EagleBank Arena. The top high school robotics teams from Washington, D.C., Maryland and Virginia faced-off at the GMU event.

“These students really rose to the occasion and displayed tremendous energy, ingenuity and teamwork at our District Championship,” said Leighann Scott Boland, executive director of FIRST Chesapeake, the non-profit that organized this weekend’s event. “Over an exciting competition season, they’ve sharpened their technical skills and learned important life skills, and we’ll be rooting for them in Detroit!”

Altogether, 22 First Robotics Competition teams advanced to the Detroit tournament from the DC/MD/VA district. Working with volunteer mentors from their communities, the teams had just six weeks to design, build and test their industrial-sized robots. To learn more, visit:

Asked for comment about this achievement, the Franklin team’s coach, Brandon Yanna, told The Tidewater News, “Last week was a very exciting week for Blackwater Robotics! Competing for the 21 spots for FIRST Championship that were available to the 58 teams that competed at the FIRST Chesapeake District Championship is no easy task.

“Each team participated in 12 qualification matches to determine the teams ranking at the event. Blackwater Robotics at the end of those matches ranked 29th out of 58 teams. In alliance selection, Blackwater Robotics was selected by the number two alliance captain, Team 1629 – Garrett Coalition of Accident, Maryland, partnered with the second team selection of Team 4472 – SuperNOVA of Woodbridge, Virginia.”

Yanna continued: “The second seeded alliance competed valiantly against the seventh seeded alliance led by Team 449 – The Blair Robot Project of Silver Spring, Maryland, in both quarterfinals matches. While both matches were extremely close, the second seeded alliance lost in the quarterfinals against the seventh seed.

“Points earned at our earlier events were added to the points earned at District Championship to determine our qualification for FIRST Championship. Once points were tallied at the end of the event, Blackwater Robotics finished 15th in the District Standings, with enough points to qualify for FIRST Championship.”

Yanna, who also teaches math, science and AVID classes at Franklin High School, said the local team will meet before dawn on April 23 at the Charles Street Gym, the site of where the students have planned and built their robot this year and in the past.

“Blackwater Robotics would like to thank the following sponsors for making attendance at Championship possible,” he said. “Franklin-Southampton Charities; Franklin City Educational Foundation; Franklin Rotary Club; BAE Systems; Collins Machine Works; Burgess & Company; International Paper; Newport News Shipbuilding, Intentional Innovation Foundation, Marine Specialty Painting, Solidworks and Franklin City Public Schools.”