FHS FIRST Robotics, partner teams, 2nd

Flagship 3140 strong at Smoky Mtn Regional

Farragut High School’s Flagship 3140 FIRST Robotics team fought valiantly with its robot as it vied for the championship in the TN FIRST Smoky Mountain Regional Robotics competition in Knoxville Civic Coliseum Friday and Saturday, March 31-April 1.

Still, at the last minute, the Flagship, along with ally teams Oak Ridge Secret City Wildbots 4265 and Topper Robotics 3984 from Johnson City Science Hill, won second place Saturday.

“We had an OK to good robot, but a fantastic drive team which made all the difference,” said Eric Manneschmidt, team mentor. “Knowing the rules, being aware of how to play the game most effectively and good communication with the other teams on our alliance allowed us to advance to the finals.”

Thirty-eight teams of students and their mentors from nine states, 15 Knox County area schools and a team from China competed to showcase their work after an intense six weeks designing and building an original robot in the FIRST Robotics competition.

They also competed for honors and recognition that rewarded design excellence, competitive play, sportsmanship and high-impact partnerships between schools, businesses and communities.

More than 1,000 students took part at Smoky Mountains Regional to earn a spot at the international FIRST Championship to be held Wednesday through Saturday, April 19-22, in the George R. Brown Convention Center in Houston.

“The task this year is a game called CHARGED UP,” said Cary Busby, HVA mentor who now is on the board of TNFIRST, the nonprofit that supports all levels of FIRST Robotics throughout Tennessee. Brandi Kinked, a faculty member, is replacing her as mentor at FHS.

“This year’s competition consists of cones (yellow traffic cones) and inflated purple cubes,” Manneschmidt said. “The robots have to pick them up off the floor or a loading station and place them on posts (cones) or on platforms (cubes) at the other end of the field.

“In the last 30 seconds, robots will try to get onto a platform that tips and then all (three ally teams) balance the platform,” he added.

After the first rounds Friday and Saturday, FHS placed fourth out of eight teams selected to go to the next round of competitions before the final rounds.

Farragut chose Wildbots 4265 and Topper Robotics 3984 as its Alliance teams.

Alliance Team 4 lost 146-132 in Round 2 and were sent to the lower bracket, but it later regained footing in two matches, getting back into the Upper bracket to compete against teams Cyber Tribe 4020 (Kingsport Dobyns-Bennett High School); Respawn Robotics 325 from Hamilton, Ohio; and Pirabots 3821 from Kentucky.

In the finals against Alliance Team 1 — Team Driven 1730 of Lees Summit, Missouri; PWNAGE 2451 from Saint Charles, Illinois; and Sno-Kno Robo 6517 from South-Doyle High School — FHS’s Alliance Team 4 lost the final match 158 to 144.

Still, “They did a great job,” FHS Flagship mentor Troy Jenson said.

“The team did wonderfully,” mentor Chris Allen added. “It’s a team that, even during build session when things were difficult, they stayed late, they sat together, ate together, they raised the roof.

“They didn’t let things get them down,” he added, noting Flagship 3140 demonstrated “that gracious professionalism they have.”


While Hardin Valley Academy’s RoHAWKtics 3824 did not make it to the Ally selection in this Smoky Mountain Regional, “RoHAWKtics already competed at the Magnolia Regional in Laurel, Mississippi,” Busby said.

“There, they played in Alliance 5 in playoffs but did not make it to finals,” he added. “They’ve been making big improvements to their robot and their presentations since then.”