KNOXVILLE—Team 4265, the Secret City Wildbots, finished the qualifying rounds ranked Number 10 and successfully negotiated the three-round quarterfinals on Saturday afternoon in Knoxville.
The team suffered a disappointing loss in the semifinals, but at the end of the awards ceremony, members were presented with the coveted Engineering Inspiration Award sponsored by NASA. The award qualifies them to compete at the World Championship in St. Louis, Missouri, from April 21-25, with the entry fee paid by NASA.
This is the Secret City Wildbots’ fourth year, and the team has earned the right to compete in the World Championship each of those four years.
The theme of this year’s robotics competition at the Smoky Mountain Regionals in Knoxville was “Recycle Rush.” Robots were to pick up recycle bins, put foam noodles in trash cans, and stack all of them in the center of the field. Additional points were gained for the number of containers stacked.
Human players fed foam noodles into the trash cans as the robots held them up to a hole in the plexiglas, and team members also fed gray recycle bins into the field for the robots to stack.
It was the fifth annual FIRST Robotics Competition Smoky Mountain Regional. It was expected to bring 50-55 high school teams to town, with 15 teams from the Knoxville area welcoming students from 10 states as far away as West Virginia and Ohio.
Goals of the competition include teaching teamwork to students and encouraging them to get interested in science and technology.