Blackwater Robotics compete in Rumble in the Roads

Published 10:14 pm Monday, November 18, 2019

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From left to right are Pacey Virtue (Drive Team); Laney Phillips (Technician and Scout Team); Anthony Bunn (Drive Team); Dalton Virtue (Drive Team); and Skylar Bunn (Technician and Scout Team). — Courtesy of Blackwater Robotics

By Brandon Yanna


Blackwater Robotics – FIRST Robotics Team 1610 of Franklin High School competed in the Rumble in the Roads Competition on Nov. 2 at Heritage High School in Newport News. After the six qualification matches, the team was ranked fourth out of 30 teams with five wins and one tie.

In the elimination matches, the team was picked by Team 1599 – Circuitree of Atlee High School in Mechanicsville, and both teams picked Team 1915 – Firebird Robotics of McKinley Tech High School in Washington, D.C.

In the quarterfinals, the second-seeded alliance was challenged by the seventh-seeded alliance composed of alliance captain Team 339 – Kilroy Robotics of Stafford; Team 2890 – The Hawk Collective of Hickory High School in Chesapeake; and Team 5957 – The Cat5 Cybercanes of Heritage High School in Newport News. The two alliances battled in two hard-fought matches with the second-seeded alliance winning both matches with scores of 72-47 and 71-59 to move into the semifinals.

In the semifinals, the second-seeded alliance went up against the number three alliance composed of alliance captain Team 5546 – ART of Appomattox Regional Governor’s School in Petersburg; Team 540 – TALON 540 of Godwin High School in Henrico; and Team 5724 of Salem High School.

Both alliances fought hard in a best of three battles with the third-seed alliance taking the first match by a score of 59-55, and the second-seed alliance charging back with a 73-41 win in the second match, setting up a showdown in a tiebreaker match with the winning alliance earning a bid to the finals. In match three, both alliances stayed within reach of each other, with the third-seeded alliance edging out the second seed with a final score of 61-57.

The Rumble in the Roads offseason event allows robotics teams to compete with each other using their current year robot and to allow interested students to see how a robotics competition operates, all while learning and using STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) skills. This event is co-hosted by Team 5957, Team 2363 – Triple Helix of Menchville High School in Newport News and Team 1610.

This competition wraps up a tremendous season for Blackwater Robotics, as this was the fifth competition for the team’s 2019 robot. The team had a total of 48 wins, 25 losses and three ties for 2019.

The team is coached by Brandon Yanna, a math and science teacher at Franklin High School. The team is mentored by Kyle Johnson, Hank Mummert, DeAndre’ Taylor, Claire Mayo, Davis Moore, Joseph Trentacost, Moe Savage, Stephen Flournoy and Liz Burgess.

The team would like to thank all of the sponsors for their support this season: Franklin Southampton Charities, Franklin City Educational Foundation, BAE Systems, Franklin Rotary Club, Camp Foundation, Collins Machine Works, Thermo Fisher Scientific, Showbest Fixtures, International Paper, Newport News Shipbuilding, Burgess & Company, Solidworks, Intentional Innovation Foundation, Marine Specialty Painting and Franklin City Public Schools.