Oak Ridge Teams Take Top Honors in FIRST Robotics World Festival

May 4, 2017

Last month, from April 19-22, 2017, the Master Builders (Team 3132) from Jefferson Middle School and the Secret City Wildbots (Team 4265) from Oak Ridge High School, competed in the FIRST (For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology) Robotics World Festival in Houston, Texas. We are pleased to announce that both teams experienced success in the World Festival.

Secret City Wildbots team photo taken at the FIRST Robotics World Festival in Houston.
The Master Builders point at their perfect score in robot performance.

The FIRST LEGO League team, The Master Builders from Jefferson Middle School, received trophies for the top awards in the world for 1st place in robot performance and 2nd place in programming. There were 108 teams present for FIRST LEGO League at the World Festival from all over the globe.

Parent mentor/coach, Jeff Thompson, and teacher coach, Lexie Scott, lead the Master Builders. Their FIRST LEGO League teams research real-world problems such as food safety, recycling, or energy, and are challenged to develop innovative solutions. The Master Builders’ innovative solution this year was to create biodegradable plastic rings for soda cans. Their inspiration came as a continuation of the recycling competition from last year. Coach Lexie Scott said that a unique component of the competitions is that students can build on a knowledge base from prior competitive events. They also must design, build, program a robot, and compete on a tabletop playing field.

The world competition consists of four components: 1) Table Game, which is robot performance; 2) Core Values, in which students express that friendly competition and helping one another is the foundation of teamwork; 3) Project Presentation, in which students present innovative solutions; 4) Engineering Interview, allowing students to elaborate on their robot building and programming processes. All four components hold equal value in determining the overall Championship Award. The organization takes pride in the emphasis on the Core Values as the cornerstone of the program. They are among the fundamental elements that distinguish FIRST LEGO League from other programs of its kind.

The Secret City Wildbots, Team 4265, competed in the Roebling Division of the World Festival with 66 teams from around the World. At the end of 110 rounds, the Secret City Wildbots were ranked 5th and became the 5th seated alliance captain, allowing them to invite Paly Robotics from Palo Alto, California; Hardin Valley Academy’s Rohawktics from Knoxville, TN and Farragut High School’s Flagship, also from Knoxville, TN. Hardin Valley Academy and Flagship is Farragut. Forming alliances with teams who are often our top competition is a unique feature of FIRST Robotics, coined “cooperatition.” The cooperatition of this alliance brought our local teams into the final rounds of play.

They won two of three of the quarterfinal matches and advanced to semi-finals where they lost to four teams who were the eventual Roebling Division & FIRST Robotics Houston - World Champions. The team finished qualification matches with a record of 9-1. Team assistant and school board member, Angi Agle stated, “This was a stellar showing by these teams, and we are very proud of them.”

Coach Lisa Buckner stated that the team believes that, “All the robot iterations they made throughout the official FIRST Robotics season helped them to compete competitively at the World Championships. It also demonstrates their commitment to live out their motto to ‘Passionately Pursue Perfection & Catch Excellence in the Process.’"

They plan to apply to compete at the 2017 Indiana Robotics Invitational in July to compete with the Best of the Best FRC Robots, and they believe their statistics and performance in Houston should help them earn the invitation. The team expressed their gratitude to all of the support they have received throughout the year and are already looking forward to the 2018 game reveal.