FARMINGTON — Mt. Blue High School’s robotics team competed for the first time last week and came home a winner.

Blue Crew No. 6153 won the All-Star Rookie Award for the best new team at the FIRST New England District meet in Providence, R.I., on March 25 and 26. The team was also chosen to be part of the meet’s winning alliance.

Mentor Richard Wilde said that after the qualifying rounds, his team was 24th out of 36 teams. The team was selected by the second alliance captain to compete in the playoff rounds.

In the playoff rounds, that alliance lost once, but it went on to beat the other alliances twice to be named the winner. 

Alliance Captain Gus No. 228 was from Meriden, Conn., and PVC Pirates No. 1058 was from Londonderry, N.H.

The Mt. Blue team was ranked fifth at the R.I. meet and 38 out of 181 teams in New England. Many New England teams have competed in several events this year.

“I’m just amazed at the way this game works,” Wilde said. “One team can’t win by itself. It showcases skills employers look for such as communication, teamwork, cooperation, meeting deadlines and problem-solving.”

The Mt. Blue team loaned an air pressure gauge to the Messalonski team, which provided transportation to the meet for the Farmington team. The two teams competed against each other in the playoffs.

The Blue Crew’s robot, which has been named Concussion Protocol, stopped working in three out of the four final matches because of a loose wire and other problems. Other teams donated parts and adjustments were made to get the robot working.

Driver Mitchell Guillaume said it was a rough start but by the second day, things were working well.

“We learned a lot,” he said. “What the robot could and couldn’t do. We were able to fix everything that broke before the next match. We have time to prepare for Pine Tree.”

The team took Concussion Protocol to the school board meeting and talked about its experiences.

Guillaume said the No. 1 seed at the meet was from Worcester, Mass., and sponsored by Worcester Polytechnic Institute.

“I’m proud of our team and our robot,” he said.

In addition to winning the All-Star Rookie Award and receiving the Blue Banner for being part of the winning alliance, the team also received an Awesome Alliance Partner trophy from the alliance captain and a gold medal.

Wilde told the school board, “I have never been so proud of a group of students. More than 1,000 people were watching the final match. No one was booing — they were all cheering. It was a phenomenal experience and I’m so glad these students got to take part in it.”

The team’s next competition is the FIRST Pine Tree District Event, to be held April 8-9 in Lewiston. 

“We came home with the banner in our very first robotics competition,” Wilde said. “Some teams have been competing for years and don’t have one. I wish I had started this program when I began teaching 15 years ago.”

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