Collegiate Robotics Team Gears Up For Next Competition

Collegiate’s Upper School robotics team, TORCH 5804, will head to Blacksburg, Virginia, this weekend to compete in the FIRST Chesapeake District event at Blacksburg High School.
The competition, TORCH 5804’s second of the season, will feature 40 of the best high school robotics teams from Virginia, Maryland and the District of Columbia. The team’s initial competition was March 1-3, at Deep Run High School, where they experienced some technical difficulties but reached the semifinals, earned a total of 25 points and finished in 18th place out of 37 teams.

Ninth Grader Alexander Trimmingham admitted to being nervous at the first event, but confident afterward.

“We left knowing that we were going to improve the design and move on and do well in the next competition,” he said.

The week leading up to the Blacksburg event, the team did indeed fine-tune some features on its practice robot and then transferred them to their competition robot, named “Steve” in honor of Head of School Steve Hickman, who will retire in June.

Junior Avery Schebell, who drives the robot, explained that the robot’s original hatch design, which worked in practice but not in competition, needed a complete overhaul.   

“We changed it completely and it’s much simpler now,” she said. “I think it will work much better,” she said.

Upper School and Middle School Steam Coordinator Dan Bartels said he feels optimistic about the team’s chances moving forward.

“I wish we had earned more points at the first competition, but the adversity is what provides the opportunities,” he said. “We’re in a position to do much better.”

At the Blacksburg event, teams will vie for spots at the FIRST Chesapeake District Championship at George Mason University in Fairfax, Virginia, on April 10-13. Top performers will go on to compete at the FIRST World Championship in Detroit, Michigan, on April 24-27. All events can be viewed via livestream. For more information, click here.
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