2019 FIRST Robotics

The 2018 -2019 season of FIRST Robotics has wound down to the final match at the World Finals. There were over 33,000 students, mentors, and teachers that led up to the FIRST Championship in Houston Texas. According to FIRST, some 700 or more teams competed and exhibited across all FIRST programs. SVRTC teams were among those who competed in the district regionals, and more recently World Championships.

District Event Picture
Bill with students from Lunenburg

The SVRTC continues to support the teams involved in FIRST Robotics, with the mentorship of Bill Wilson, Senior Technology Engineer of ITTIP. He is constantly researching new products, ideas, and solutions and to assist teams when needed. Serving as a consultant for the teams, Wilson has had the chance to watch the teams grow from first meetings to 15+ year veterans. He has provided face to face training to teams as well as training from a distance using products like Webex and Google Hangouts. “Much of the training I did in Labview programming was done remotely. The web meeting tools are well suited to provide video, voice, and data with interaction locally and remote. Working with students remotely gives me a chance to watch them work on developing their program while I assist and encourage them at the same time”, comments Wilson.

FIRST FRC Competition Field

The Southern Virginia Robotics (SOVAR), a partnership between   Mid-Atlantic Broadband Communities Corporation (MBC) and SVRTC, supported ten SVRTC school divisions and eleven teams this year,  including:

  • Team 6189 – Amelia
  • Team 5279 –  Campbell
  • Team 6194 – Cumberland
  • Team 1598 – Danville
  • Team 977- Halifax
  • Team 5954 – Lunenburg
  • Team 1262- Martinsville
  • Team 3258 –  Martinsville
  • Team 1413 – Mecklenburg
  • Team 5950 –  Pittsylvania
  • Team 6189 – Amelia
  • Team 6021 – Sussex

Many of the teams will continue to review their performance during the past season in an effort to identify what went right and what went wrong, and what changes might be made to next year’s robot. There is still much to do and learn during the offseason and many teams will take advantage of this time to excel.

Even as the season is coming to an end, SVRTC teams are already making plans and preparing for the 2019 – 2020 season.

VA FIRST Robotics Teams Moving Up

Quite a few FIRST Robotics teams in Southern Virginia, in particular in the SVRTC consortium, were successful in winning out over competing alliances in District and Regional events. The SVRTC wishes to recognize those teams in general and hopes to see this as the continuation of many more successful seasons. I find myself smiling and enjoying a sense of pride when I see our teams go up against teams with big sponsors like Northrop-Grumman or NASA and come out the winner. It demonstrates the talent our mentors and teachers provide each year while they are training our students to build the robots. It also attests to the character and dedication our students put forth as well. When I visit a team and see 10-20 or more students there on a Saturday working on their robot and doing so with the enthusiasm I’ve seen when they are playing video games. There are two programs I routinely watch with pride each year as their students step up and demonstrate the best behavior. They are Band and Robotics. It’s rare to take 10-100 students on long distance trips and see them answer without challenge the directions given them by their Coaches and mentors. Go to one of the competitions and watch the teams for yourself and I expect you will be amazed. It can be addictive, you know, working with the students. I know. This will be my 19th season…

The list shown below is a copy from the FIRST web site. It includes all Virginia Teams  including those that are within the SVRTC consortium area and the MBC Southside and Southwest area. You may be able to see the entire page entire page here, but if not the bulk of the seasons info can be seen here. Those numbers in Bold and Red are members of the SVRTC or the SOVA-R Alliance.

Virginia FTC Teams

3595 Schrodingers Hat
3749 Bionic Penguins
7117 Blockheads
8297 Geared Up
10358 Squatch Watch

FIRST Chesapeake FRC Teams

Table with FIRST Robotics team numbers.
The new 2019 season is just around the corner. Start making plans now to become a mentor and help your local team succeed this year, or become a volunteer at one of the events (more info here). There is room and the need for volunteers is always high. If you’re not interested in becoming a mentor and working with the students one-on-one then consider becoming a sponsor. Your local team struggles each year trying to raise additional funds to cover the cost of hotels, food, transportation, registrations, materials, tools, and the list goes on. Even small donations like $20 add up when enough people contribute. Again, check with your local high school team coach or principal for more information on how you can help out. The video below will help you get a taste of what it’s all about!

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