Mountaineer Mall Area Robotics Hosts First FRC Competition in We - Beckley, Bluefield & Lewisburg News, Weather, Sports

Mountaineer Mall Area Robotics Hosts First FRC Competition in West Virginia

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Saturday was Day Two of the 24-hour First Robotics Challenge in Morgantown.

Twenty-four high school teams from all over the country and Canada faced off in the finals. 

The teams' mission was to score as many points as possible by using their robots on the course. 

Participants said it's an exhausting, yet adrenaline pumping experience.

"I've been here in the whole time. It's been really great. We've had a lot of fun, they've had a lot of different matches. These competitions are usually serious. They all have the one game plan, but here they have different matches - glow-in-the-dark matches, and they had no speak challenges," said Molly Urbina.

"Build season is really fun. In competition and off-season events, you get to see all the work you've done," said Arushi Bandi.

The winning alliance at WVROX was 4-H Palindrome from Townsend, Delaware; the McDonogh Eagles from Owings Mills, Maryland; and Inverse Paradox from Mississauga, Ontario.

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It was the first of its kind. The state of West Virginia has never hosted a First Robotics Competition until now. Twenty four teams, from 13 states and 2 countries, competed for the top spot at the WVU Recreation Center.

"The practice matches we did were the first FRC matches ever done in West Virginia," said Autumn Baker, a Mountaineer Area RoboticS team member. "That feels really good that we can sort of pioneer this type of event."

Mountaineer Area Robotics (MARS) put together the event that's not only the first for the state, but the first FRC to be 26 hours long.

"Usually if you go to a regional event, during the regular season, you might get 8 or 9 matches and then there's the elimination rounds," said Earl Scime, the Co-Founder and Head Coach of MARS. "If you're lucky, and you win, you play 15 matches. Here these teams are going to be 30."

The high school students competing will even take sleep breaks in the rec center.

The competition is considered off season, but all of the students who build the robots work very hard to get them game ready.

"We didn't build them specifically for this event," said Sierra Baker, another MARS team member. "We have a competition season that starts in January. Where we get what the robot is supposed to do and then we have from the first Saturday of January, we have six weeks to build the robot and then compete."

The competition is set up in several rounds of two minute three-on-three matches. Each trial has red and blue alliances... Those are each made up of three different teams from all over the country...and even Canada.

"It's difficult, it's stressful, it's the work we like to do," said Autumn Baker. "We're all here because we like to work hard, we like this experience. We love competing, we love this. "

Organizers said each match is like watching the last two minutes of a basketball game.