Garrett County Public School’s FIRST Robotics Competition (FRC) Team 1629, the Garrett Coalition (GaCo) just finished their first district qualification event last weekend in Blacksburg, Virginia. After ten qualification matches GaCo ended up the tenth seeded team from the 38 teams in attendance from all around Maryland, Virginia and the mid-atlantic. Matches are played with three teams in alliance against an opposing alliance of three teams. After qualification rounds concluded, the top eight seeded teams selected their alliance partners in which to enter into double-elimination matches to determine the winning alliance for the tournament. GaCo was the first pick of the third seeded alliance and almost made it through quarterfinals having to play a third match to break a 1-1 tie. Regardless, GaCo’s robot (Meshach 13.0) was one of the top performing robots at the tournament as indicated by their Offensive Power Ranking (OPR) in which they topped the list.
Every year, FIRST releases a new game challenge to be played on a 27 foot by 54 foot playing field. In year’s challenge, “STEAMworks”, alliances earned points by scoring 5 inch wiffle balls (referred to as “fuel”) into 10 foot high goals, delivering 10 inch diameter gears to a location on the playing field known as “airships”... one for each alliance and climbing a rope attached to their alliances airship by the end of the match.
However, GaCo is more than just about robots and works year-round to help Garrett County’s elementary students be ready to be a success in Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM.) During the awards ceremony, GaCo was recognized for their efforts by being the recipient of the “Chairman’s Award.” The Chairman’s Award is given to the team that has been judged to best represent a model for other teams to emulate and best embodies the purpose and goals of FIRST. It is the most prestigious award that FIRST uses to honor teams. Winning the Chairman’s Award automatically qualifies GaCo to compete at the District Championship in Richmond at VCU on April 5 through the 8th. However, the team’s next event is another qualifier in the Baltimore area weekend after next (March 18 and 19th). Although they have already qualified for the district championship, the team will need to earn district points to take them to the next level past the DIstrict Championships.
Wide angle picture of the playing field (54 feet long) at Blacksburg High School. Virginia Tech is in Blacksburg as well.
GaCo’s drive team returning from a match.
GaCo’s drive team looking at scores from one of their matches being shown on the field’s display and obviously pleased with them.
At the end of the match, robots score bonus points if they can climb a rope to board their alliance’s airships for take off… well not really take off, but that’s the idea!
GaCo is all about "STEM Ready" kids... its our vision and how we make a difference. These youngsters in our pit is the reason we compete!
GaCo queuing up with an awesome rookie team - The Baltimore Bolts, FRC Team #6326
After the Awards Ceremony. FRC 1629, GaCo is honored to be be the recipient of the District Event's Chairman's Award. We will use it to further establish our vision of "STEM Ready" kids!
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