Academies of Loudoun Robotics Team Qualifies for World Championship
Leesburg, April 11, 2022 - RoboLoCo, the Academies of Loudoun FIRST® Robotics team, has qualified for the 2022 FIRST® Championship, aka “Worlds” by virtue of winning the Engineering Inspiration Award at the Chesapeake District Championship in Hampton, VA on April 9, 2022.
The FIRST® Engineering Inspiration Award celebrates outstanding success in advancing respect and appreciation for engineering within a team’s school or organization and community.
The 2022 FIRST® Championship is April 20-23rd at the George R. Brown Convention Center in Houston, TX.
The Academies of Loudoun “RoboLoCo” team (team 5338) is a FIRST® Robotics Competition (FRC) team competing in the Chesapeake District. RoboLoCo is the only FRC team in Loudoun County. Academies of Loudoun RoboLoCo is one of several thousand FRC teams across the globe. FRC, is the highest level of FIRST competitions, above FLL (4th - 8th grade) and FTC (7th - 12th grade). FIRST, a nonprofit organization, releases a new game every year, and teams have nine weeks to build a robot to compete with, fitting with the organization’s mission to inspire young people to be leaders in the fields of Science and Technology, by engaging them in exciting student-based programs that involve problem solving, creativity, and analytical reasoning. For more information about FIRST and FRC, refer to https://www.firstinspires.org/.
The 2022 Rapid React season saw teams devising a variety of mechanisms to solve this year’s game challenge- which consisted of shooting balls into high and low targets, as well as completing a “monkey bar” style endgame climb. At the start of the build season, RoboLoCo decided to focus on shooting into the low goal and climbing to the traversal level. Throughout the next three months, we worked to make this plan happen!
During the build season, team members were assigned to a subteam of their choosing: mechanical, software, business, or creative. Working with subteam leaders and task managers, members completed a variety of projects; beyond just building the robot, we also coded a scouting app, launched a podcast and resource bank, and designed an all-new sponsorship banner and leadership poster. Members met three times a week on Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Saturdays, with meeting time ranging from two to five hours.
Our build season efforts culminated with our two qualifier competitions, both held in Washington, DC in March. At our first competition, we placed sixth overall and captained the fourth-seeded alliance. We also were selected as a finalist for the Engineering Inspiration award, which celebrates teams who have outstanding impact in promoting interest for FIRST and STEM within their communities. This momentum carried on into our second qualifier, where we led the second-seeded alliance and also received the Imagery Award for our creative efforts. Together, these two events ranked us high enough to advance to the next stage of competition and we traveled down to Hampton, VA to compete at the Chesapeake District Championships.
At District Championships, RoboLoCo finished 27th- the highest we’ve ever placed! We were one of two teams across the entire district to earn the Engineering Inspiration award, making team history as the first time we ever won an award at the district level. Additionally, one of our members was chosen as a Chesapeake Dean’s List finalist. Through these distinctions, RoboLoCo was able to secure a spot to compete at the World Championships in Houston.