Eldersburg Robo-Lions to Compete in 10th Annual Chesapeake Regional
The local robotics team is on its way to regionals in Baltimore.
The Liberty High School Robo-Lions from Eldersburg test out their newest robot next weekend, taking on 62 teams from across the state at the 10th Annual Chesapeake Regional FIRST Robotics Competition at the Baltimore Convention Center.
The three-day event gives the team the opportunity to test its new robot against teams as far away as Michigan and California.
"The team has the first group of seniors with six years of experience in FIRST programs, four them started competing in FIRST Lego League when Oklahoma Road Middle School started a team and they have stayed together and grown, and added more students from freshmen to seniors since then," said team leader and mentor Rose Young.
"Not only are they veterans, but they lead a solid team of experienced and new students, and have adult mentors willing to put in many hours to support their efforts."
The Robo-Lions are in their sixth year of competition and recently opened membership to students from all over the Freedom area.
The team includes 21 students from ninth to 12th, with most members coming from Liberty High School. Two home-schooled students have joined this year, and one member was from Century High School last year.
"As a veteran team, the Robo-Lions set high goals for their robot. The product of six intense weeks, the competition robot is bagged and can’t be touched until the official opening on March 8," Young said. "But this year, for the first time, a second practice robot has been taking shape. It will allow for more testing and practice, something many newer teams don't have the materials or space to do."
Space is something that the Robo-Lions do not take for granted. The team found themselves "homeless" last year.
"Space has been a major challenge for this team. Last year, we had to move out of a warehouse build and practice area when a new tenant signed a lease," Young said.
"Since then, work has been taking place in homes and garages but practicing this game, shooting baskets and balancing on a nearly 8 foot long bridge requires space."
"Fortunately, JACT Sports Complex opened their warehouse doors to the team just in time. Tuning and practice will be taking place there through the pack-up and final preparations a few days before departure."
The Robo-Lions booster group recently set up a non-profit group known as PIE3 to help raise funds and sustain the team. Partnership and Inspiration for Engineering Education and Entrepreneurship (PIE3) also supports elementary and middle school robotics programs.
The Chesapeake Regional competition will take place in Hall A at the Baltimore Convention Center on March 9 and 10. The event is free and open to the public.
While the Robo-Lions are practicing on being well prepared, Young said this competition won't be an easy one.
"The competition will be intense. Not only are Maryland teams improving each year, but the regional has attracted attention from known powerhouse teams from other regions," Young said. "The Robo-Lions are confident they will be in the game."
Matches typically begin at 9 a.m. and continue until 5 p.m. Tours are available throughout the day.
In addition to the main event, there will be concessions for lunch, robot demonstrations of FIRST Tech Challenge and FIRST Lego League teams, and a junior expo involving students from kindergarten to third grade.
Seeding matches begin on Friday, and on Saturday the final rounds take place and the day ends with awards for the competition as well as other judged areas.
Find out more about the competition and the Eldersburg robotic team on the on the Robo-Lions' website here.