BCHS Trojans - FIRST Robotics Team Update

Date: April 11, 2013

As many of you know, Eaton has been a sponsor of the Burlington Central High School FIRST Robotics team (http://trojanrobotics.posterous.com) for several years. FIRST Robotics (For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology www.usfirst.org) is an excellent program to inspire student to pursue careers in science and technology. It has been my pleasure to work with the BCHS students as an industry Mentor and represent Eaton as their lead sponsor. The following is an update on this years activities.

The 2013 season started off as one of the most difficult challenges of all. After the six week build season, the BCHS Trojans (team 2386) entered their first competition of the season at the Waterloo regional held at the University of Waterloo. This competition turned out to be a bit of a humbling experience due to numerous technical issues including a malfunctioning gearbox that left our robot immobilized in a number of matches. This gave us a low placement in the rankings after the qualifying rounds and ultimately resulted in not being selected for the playoffs. This was the first time this has happened to the BCHS Trojans in the teams six year existence. The team was extremely disappointed, vowed to do better at the next competition in Lewiston, Maine and was already planning modifications to improve the robot.

This past weekend at the Pine Tree Regional competition in Lewiston, the team learned a valuable lesson in perseverance as they worked tirelessly to implement design changes and fix problems. With a never say die attitude and much work between matches, the team managed a mid-pack qualifying position of 17th out of 38 teams putting us in a good position to be drafted into the playoffs. The playoff format requires the top eight teams to draft other robots to make alliances of three meaning 24 robots in total move on.

The playoff draft was a nail-biter for the team but fortune smiled on us as the #1 ranked team ended up pulling us onto their alliance with their final pick. Our three robot alliance with Team 2648 (Infinite Loop from Oakland, ME) and Team 3647 (The Windham Windup from Windham, NH) made its way through the quarter and semi-finals wining the best of three matches with two straight wins each time. In the finals, we won the first match but some technical issues arose again in the second match - we lost that one. So it all came down to the wire with a winner take all final match and .. WE WON!

Wining a FIRST Robotics regional is a VERY big thing for the all the teams involved and given how this season started, nobody would have predicted that this would be the year for us. The team came close last year making it to the finals in Knoxville, TN and coming home with silver medals but this year its gold medals and a championship banner to hang at the school!

The team is grateful for the support from Eaton and are making plans to take their robot to the FIRST world championship held in St. Louis, MO later this month. Please enjoy the photo of the team and their robot on the playing field after the big win in Lewiston, Maine.


Best regards,

Eric W Tate. P.Eng.
Industry Manager - Alternative Energy and proud Mentor of the BCHS Trojans Robotics Team

Electrical Sector
Canadian Operations