Hebron News

Robotics Team Wins First Place

Mt. Hebron’s robotics team won first place at the two-day For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology  (FIRST) Robotics Competition in the Chesapeake District, which was held at McDonogh School from March 15 to March 17. The FIRST Robotics Competition is an international high school robotics tournament recognized as the premier high school engineering challenge. Various teams of students and mentors from different high schools are given the opportunity to compete within the District of Columbia, Maryland, and Virginia.

Each year, teams work for a six-week period in order to design and build game-playing robots that weigh up to 125 pounds. The January before the competition, “games” are unveiled by FIRST so that the teams know what to focus on. They compete for scores that add up and earn them a place at the FIRST Chesapeake District Championship. Winners from FIRST Chesapeake move forward and compete at the FIRST World Championship in Detroit.

Senior captain Preethi Badugu said, “We did not expect to be picked for an alliance and move on to the quarter finals at all, and when we were called we were honestly shocked. We played our part and fought hard, and I am proud of everyone and how they stayed on and did their best.”

Over the course of the two-day competition, pits open and close in the morning and evening. Inspection and practice rounds occur followed by opening ceremonies and qualification matches on both days. On day two, alliance selections, an elimination tournament, and an awards ceremony occur after the matches.

This competition was the first of two events that the Mt. Hebron robotics team had attended during this year. The team had no idea what to expect, but did whatever they could to make sure everyone was prepared for whatever might lay ahead.

Badugu said, “In order to prepare for the competition, we had a six-week build season where we split into teams to create specific parts of the robot. We had a mechanical and software team that worked extremely hard to have everything working in a couple of weeks.”

The team started off strong on Saturday, but by Sunday morning, they ended up ranking 29 out of 30 teams. They were unexpectedly picked for an alliance and moved on to the quarter finals.

Junior Michael Webster said, “We started the regional competition on Saturday, and got our seed number. We did very well at first. We had some minor issues with the robot, but by the end of the second day we seemed to be doing too well.”

“The top eight seeded teams got to pick the other teams in a team captain style drawing,” Webster continued. “Mt. Hebron got picked by the 2nd and 9th seeded teams, putting us in a good place to win. After that we just worked our way through the competition.”

The Mt. Hebron robotics team received first place in the two-day competition and will continue on to the district championships, prepared for anything and ready to win.


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