REGION — Two local FIRST Robotics Competition [FRC] teams have qualified for the New England District Championship being held April 5-8 in West Springfield, Massachusetts.

Knights of Katahdin team 9055, a rookie team based in Wilton, competed at the New England District SE Mass Event March 3-5 in Bridgewater, Massachusetts. Their team was chosen for one of the playoff round alliances and made it to the finals. Their alliance lost but it took four rounds to do so. The Knights won the Rookie Inspiration award.

The Wilton team also competed at the New England District UNH Event March 24-26 in Durham, New Hampshire. The alliance they were chosen for again made it to the playoff rounds, winning the first and third matches before being eliminated. They ranked 14th out of the 41 teams competing, won the Rookie Inspiration award and were named the highest rookie seed.

Blue Crew FRC team 6153, comprised of students and mentors from Mt. Blue High School in Farmington and Spruce Mountain High School in Jay, also competed at those two events. At the first event, the team won the Team Spirit award and was selected Safety Allstar Team.

Blue Crew students thought their season was over after the turret on their robot broke midway through practices, Richard Wilde, team mentor said Monday night, March 27. He continued, when the team returned to their pit they were greeted by Joel Pike, one of the team’s mentors who told the students they had to get to work and presented them with another turret.

“It was an intense competition with many skilled teams,” Blue Crew Captain Emily Hammond wrote in an email to the Livermore Falls Advertiser March 28. “We had a rocky start, as our robot was severely damaged during one of our practice matches. It was an incredibly stressful time for our drive team and pit crew. We came together and were able to reassemble Marauder in a little over [two] hours. Missing our first couple of qualification matches hurt our standings in the competition. We entered our fourth match in 38th place out of 41 total teams. Even with our setbacks, we were able to end the day in 14th place, and by alliance selection, we had worked our way up to 9th.”


Blue Crew was chosen by the fifth seed alliance captain, 8410 Oyster River Overdrive from Durham, New Hampshire, and chose 4473 Delta Prime Robotics 4-H Team from Richmond, Maine, to complete the alliance, Hammond wrote. “Even though we were eliminated in [s]emifinals, we were so lucky to compete alongside such incredible and kind teams,” she noted. “We finished the event by earning the Creativity Award. The description of the award is as follows: “Celebrates creativity that enhances strategy of play and was intentionally designed and not discovered.””

Of the 185 NE District teams this year, 90 qualified for the championship. Blue Crew is ranked 36th while Knights of Katahdin is ranked 45th. Eight other teams from Maine also qualified.

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“I am so grateful for the positive and inclusive community of FIRST,” Hammond wrote. “There is truly no other organization where you can put thousands of students in a room and have them all talk like friends. The support between teams during and even outside of competition is incredibly unique.”

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