The West End school bested 600 teams from 24 countries at the event in St. Louis, Missouri.
Deep Run High School’s robotics team was part of a four-team alliance that won competitive robotics’ biggest prize Saturday, the 2016 FIRST Robotics Competition Championship. The St. Louis event featured 600 of the best teams in the world, representing 24 countries.
The Deep Run squad, “Team 1086, Blue Cheese” teamed with three other robotics teams, from high schools in California, Illinois and Ohio to take the win. This is the first time a Virginia team has won the FIRST championship.
Matt Wilson, a Deep Run physics teacher and the team coach, said that the win was sweet in part because 2016 is the last year there will be a single world champion. Beginning next year, the competition will crown two champions at different sites.
“Students with varied interest, abilities and backgrounds collaborated to make this an incredible season,” Wilson said in a news release. “Our team is nearly 40 percent female and includes students from both inside and outside Deep Run’s Center for Information Technology.”
“This win is a little like the tip of an iceberg. There’s so much more to our team. We also work very hard to inspire younger students to pursue their interests in STEM through programs like our Lego Math kits and the camps, competitions and demonstrations that we plan and run each year.”
Robotics teams from Mills Godwin and J.R. Tucker high schools were also among the select group of teams earning the right to compete in St. Louis.
The annual competition combines sports excitement with the rigors of science and technology. FIRST, the competition’s governing body, creates a new challenge each year, and the more than 3,000 participating school teams from around the world develop robots to tackle that challenge. The teams abide by strict rules, limited resources, and time limits. They raise funds, design a brand, exercise teamwork, and build and program robots, then pit them against each other in head-to-head competitions, culminating in the competition championship.
Photo: Deep Run Robotics