The Robotics State championship was played the week of April 10-17, with the MPCS Eagle Robotics Team 7373 Carbon Fiber successfully defending its State championship by again taking the top honor Inspire Award, which is a culminating prize awarded to the team with the highest scores in all categories. Additionally, Team 11364 Diamond Plate took home a third-place finish in the Collins Aerospace Innovate Award, which recognizes the team with the most innovative and creative robot design as evidenced by elegance, robustness, and "out of the box" thinking. Special recognition was given to students S. Baker and S. McCune, who were honored as semifinalists in the "Dean's List" individual award.
The kickoff of the FIRST® Tech Challenge season in September of 2020 was the first of its kind. Uncertainty abounded as to whether a season could even be played, with 99-percent of the world's teams participating remotely. In such a scenario, teams play against the clock rather than against opponents. Only three leagues in the world - in Queensland, Australia; Saint Petersburg, Russia; and Acworth, Georgia, USA - decided to play "live" against opponents. The Eagle Robotics Teams played the entirety of their season in this league, culminating in January at the Etowah League Tournament hosted at MPCS. At that event, both of the Eagle Robotics teams emerged as qualifiers for the State Championship.
This year's State championship was played remotely. The rules and strategies of remote play differed from live play, and the Eagles had had no experience with them. Eagle Robotics remained undaunted, however. After a year of lockdowns, COVID protocols, team quarantines, virtual mentoring, and virtual judging, the prospects of playing a championship with different rules than they were used to was just another obstacle. Ultimately, the team took home the top prize Inspire Award!
Though the FIRST® Championship is once again cancelled due to the pandemic, we are proud of what has been achieved in the face of so much adversity. Congratulations to Team 7373 for its organization, expertise, professionalism, and gracious empathy and compassion for other teams!