Press Release

High School Robotics Teams Head to Richmond for Regional Tournament

By SpaceRef Editor
April 4, 2011
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HAMPTON, Va. – Thousands of budding engineers who share a passion for robots will gather in Richmond this week for the Virginia Regional FIRST Robotics Competition.

The FIRST competition is an engineering challenge for high school students ages 14 – 18. Teams of students work closely with teachers and volunteer mentors, and have six weeks to design, build, program and test a robot to participate in a competition that changes each year. Fifteen teams from Hampton Roads will compete in the tournament held April 8 – 9 at Virginia Commonwealth University’s Siegel Center.

This year teams from across the country built robots to compete in the game “LOGO Motion.” LOGO Motion involves building a robot and mini-bot that can move and climb, as well as position inflatable tubes and symbols on pegs, making up the FIRST logo. The higher up an inflatable logo letter or tube is placed, the more points the team scores. At the end of the game, the main robot must deploy a mini-bot that will climb to the top of a nine-foot pole in under 10 seconds. The first mini-bot to the top gets the most points.

Winners of regional tournaments will go on to compete in the world championships held in St. Louis, April 27 – May 1.

The Virginia region consists of 63 teams, many of which are from Hampton Roads. NASA Langley sponsors two teams: the NASA Knights from New Horizons Regional Education Center here, and the Triple Helix from Menchville High School in Newport News, Va. The Triple Helix won the FIRST Palmetto Regional Robotics competition in South Carolina in March and the NASA Knights won the Chairman’s Award at the regional competition in Georgia, also in March. Because of their honors, both teams were invited to the world championships.

WHAT: FIRST Robotics Virginia Regional Tournament

WHEN: April 8 – 9

WHERE: VCU Siegel Center at 1200 W. Broad Street, Richmond, Va.

Businesses around Hampton Roads sponsor and mentor the teams. The New Horizon NASA Knights have competed for the past 14 years with the help of NASA’s Langley Research Center.

Since 1991, FIRST Robotics has encouraged young people to be science and technology leaders by engaging them in exciting mentor-based programs. These programs build science, engineering and technology skills, inspire innovation, and foster self-confidence, communication and leadership. For more information about the FIRST Robotics Virginia tournament, visit:

SpaceRef staff editor.