Over the weekend, The RoboBees competed in the 2022 FIRST Chesapeake District Championship.
This event, which brought together 60 FIRST Robotics Competition (FRC) teams from across
Maryland, DC, and Virginia, was one of the first full in-person FIRST robotics events in the
Chesapeake region since March 2020.
The RoboBees, a community team based out of The Hive – A growingSTEMS Center in Hollywood,
is a 20 year veteran of the FRC. FRC has high school-aged students building 125 lb robots
focused on competing with, and against, other robots to complete a game. This year, the robots
are required to shoot large tennis balls into a goal and climb across a series of bars to obtain points.
The faster, and more reliably, that they can climb and shoot, the more points they can obtain.
With six robots on the field at a time, it can take a great deal of skill and tactics to ensure a win
in just one match.
During this District Championship event, The RoboBees advanced through the qualifying
matches with impressive results. By the end of the first two days, the team was ranked first
out of all the teams competing in the event. During the third day, Team 836 – The RoboBees
selected two other teams as their alliance partners, Team 2363 – Triple Helix from Newport News,
Virginia and Team 620 – Warbots from Vienna, Virginia.
The first seed alliance moved onto the playoff matches, competing against the eighth seed
alliance in the quarterfinals, the fifth seed alliance in the semifinals, and the seventh seed alliance
in the finals. There were a couple of very close matches but the alliance came away victorious,
earning the blue banner.
The students, who only had two months to work on the robot before their first competition,
were ecstatic at the win. “It was a great experience. It was really inspiring and fulfilling to see our
robot compete on the field and see all our hard work and designs turn into robot execution.” says
Ben, one of the programming students.
Tim, one of the electrical students, stated that his “favorite part of the event was seeing all the
different ways teams thought to solve the same problems. Even similar solutions always had slight
differences that impacted how they functioned.”
This was the third win for the team this year, having already succeeded in bringing home the
blue banners for two earlier qualifying events, the FIRST Chesapeake Greater DC #1 Day 1 Event on March 5th and the FIRST Chesapeake Greater DC #3 Day 1 Event on March 19th. During those events, The RoboBees were the first pick of the first seed alliance and the captain of the first seed alliance, respectively.
With this District Championship victory, the 2022 season is officially the team’s best season
ever. While this is the second time that they have won three events in a season, it is the first time
that they have been captains of our alliances in two of those events. They are also one of only
17 teams, out of 3000+ teams competing this year, to have won three events so far this season.
They are also ranked first in the Chesapeake District, a collection of 113 active teams across the
Maryland, DC, and Virginia regions.
As a result of their overwhelming success, the team will be heading to the 2022 FIRST Championship
in Houston. This event, which takes place from April 20 to April 23, 2022, will gather
together 450 teams (and their robots) from across the world to compete with, and against, each
other in a celebration of STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) values. This will be
the tenth consecutive year (2020 and 2021 events were canceled) that the team will travel to the
FIRST Championship to represent St. Mary’s County and the greater Chesapeake District.