FIRST Robotics Team 195, the Southington CyberKnights competed in Detroit at the FIRST Robotics Championship the first weekend in May, where 18 countries were representing and all 408 teams present had earned their spot at the global event by previously winning in their own districts.
Each robotics team is placed in one of six divisions each named for a famous scientist. Six individual competitions are held simultaneously until each crowns a champion of that division.
The CyberKnights were placed in the Curie division, a division that FIRST Robotics enthusiasts called the most “stacked division they’ve seen in years.”
“Many of the most competitive robotics teams somehow landed in Curie making the fight for this particular division banner epic, to say the least,” said CyberKnights officials in a press release.
After 10 qualification matches, the top eight teams in rank then select teams to compete with them in the playoffs. The CyberKnights landed as the fourth place alliance captains selecting Team 3538, The RoboJackets from Auburn Hills, Michigan and Team 1073, The Force Team from Hollis, New Hampshire. A fourth alliance partner is selected and the alliance captain is allowed to play any three teams in any given match. For their fourth alliance partner the CyberKnights selected their local friends Team 230, the Gaelhawks from Shelton.
“The number one alliance in the division had some of the best robots in the world including the world renowned Teams 1114 and 2056 both from Ontario, Canada,” said officials in a press release. “The CyberKnights’ alliance knew this would be a difficult battle in the playoffs. Although they may have been considered the underdogs, they received great encouragement from Mr. Stranieri, their principle, who reminded them ‘You are 195, you got this!’”
Along with their alliance partners, they developed an amazing strategy which included some incredible defense played by 1073.
“The defense was the ‘secret sauce’ to making their strategy so successful,” said officials in a press release. “Against all odds, they fought through the playoffs even upsetting the Canadian superpower alliance in the semifinals.”
For the second year in a row the CyberKnights were Curie division champions. Another Curie division banner was brought back to Southington High School.
The CyberKnights then moved on to play against the other division champions in a round robin style competition and placed 3rd overall.
There are 6,575 FIRST Robotics teams in the world and the CyberKnights were number three at the championship event and came away with the creativity award sponsored by Xerox, which celebrates creativity in design, use of component or strategy of play.
They have won six banners this season— more blue banners this season that any other robotics team in the world.
“On behalf of the entire team, thank you from the bottom of our hearts for all your encouragement and support this season,” said officials in a press release. “Although we must now graduate our seniors pictured below, we know future CyberKnights will continue to make Southington proud just as this senior class has done for the past four years.”