Blue Crew 6153 was part of the winning alliance at the FIRST Robotics Competition Summer Heat Event held June 25 in Falmouth. From left, front row, are Lily Bailey, Finn Zimmerschied, Emily Hammond and Mason Labonte; back row, Nathan Hall, Owen Schwab, Ben “Kaleb” Daku, Jesse Daku, Jack Cramer, Dan Wilson, Gentry House, Abby St. Clair and Trevor Hogan. Kevin Murphy photo

FARMINGTON — Blue Crew 6153 extended its successful year with a win at Summer Heat, an off-season event in Falmouth on June 25.

Blue Crew 6153 participates in FIRST (For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology) Robotics Competition. It includes students from Mt. Blue and Spruce Mountain high schools plus a Jay student attending the Maine School of Science and Mathematics. The FIRST Robotics Competition game this year is Rapid React, which explores the future of transportation. Teams build a robot and program it to carry out specific tasks related to the game theme.

Summer Heat was hosted by team 58 Riot Crew, team 5687 Outliers, and team 172 Northern Force, Blue Crew Team Captain Emily Hammond wrote in a recent email.

“It was a gorgeous day and without the pressure of a season competition, teams were trying out new drivers and getting their new recruits involved in the excitement of an event,” she wrote. “It was also the first event since 2020 that was mask optional and allowed spectators. It felt really good to be fully back again with family, friends and fans at the event cheering us on.”

Owen Schwab of Spruce Mountain High School in Jay was part of Blue Crew’s scouting team. Data is collected on how teams play, usually focusing on how much teams score on various aspects of the game, he wrote in a recent email.

“Data is collected by team members in the stands during qualification matches,” he noted. “Someone who is scouting will watch the robot they are assigned, filling information into a paper form corresponding to that robot.


“My job at Summer Heat was to pass out these forms at the start of each match, and to enter the information gathered into a spreadsheet at the end of each match. First, I would use the match schedule to find which teams would be playing next; I would find the forms corresponding to these teams, and pass them out to other members in the stands. After the match, I would gather these forms and enter the new information into the central spreadsheet on my laptop.

“The catch is this: matches are short, and there isn’t usually much time between them. I had to do my job quickly and efficiently in order to get the next round of forms out in time.”

Schwab wrote he is new to the scouting team, deciding to take it on after the team member who had done it graduated. The tasks were similar to what they would be in a competition, he noted.

“Since Summer Heat was an off-season competition, how the team did wasn’t particularly important,” Schwab wrote. “Therefore, it was an excellent opportunity to see what I was getting into, so I wouldn’t have to figure it out along the way once the next season begins.”

Blue Crew finished qualifications ranked 12th. During Alliance selection, the team was picked by the first seed alliance for the competition rounds.

Blue Crew team members call adviser Richard Wilde to share their success story after participating in the Summer Heat competiton June 25 in Falmouth. Kevin Murphy photo

“I was shocked and exhilarated to have such an amazing opportunity,” Hammond wrote. “Our team had been cheering loudly all day, but when they called our number, I couldn’t even hear the announcer. We entered the round robin style playoffs with our alliance partners, alliance captain 131 CHAOS, first pick 3467 Windham Windup, and third pick 8046 LakerBots.


“Our alliance clicked so well with each other. Quality communication, strategic planning, and enthusiasm brought us through playoffs and into the finals match. With a thrilling tiebreaker, our alliance emerged victorious, winning the competition. The Blue Crew brought home our first winners trophy and banner since our rookie season in 2016,” he wrote.

“Being on this team has been an awesome experience,” Schwab wrote. “Sure, it’s stressful at times, and it takes up a lot of time in your schedule. Sometimes you wonder how much of a difference your time and energy makes. But when you watch your team succeed, like I got to this past season, you realize that you helped make this happen. And it doesn’t just make putting in effort worth it, it makes it fun. It’s unlike anything else I’ve gotten to experience.”

A new member on the team this year is Mason Labonte from Spruce Mountain. He joined the FIRST LEGO League program as a sixth grade student.

“I have been interested in joining the Blue Crew FIRST Robotics team since my eighth grade year,” he wrote in a recent email. “I have really learned the value of teamwork with the few times I have worked with this team.”

“I am so proud of this team and I feel so lucky to have had the opportunity to lead them through such a successful year,” Hammond wrote. “Thank you to our incredible sponsors.”

The team won the Chairman’s Award at the Pine Tree District event in Waterville in March, then won the Engineering Inspiration Award at the New England District Pease event three weeks later in Durham, New Hampshire. Those two awards qualified Blue Crew to compete at the New England District Championship April 13-16 in West Springfield, Massachusetts.


At that meet the alliance Blue Crew made it to the semifinals and lost by a single point. Blue Crew won its fifth safety All-Star Award of the year and the Gracious Professionalism Award. The team qualified for the World Competition in Texas but due to the quick turnaround between the two meets and a lack of finances was unable to attend.

Blue Crew will be at several local events this summer. In addition to their fundraising root beer float sales, team members will demonstrate what their robots can do.

On the schedule are Farmington Summer Fest July 23, Wilton Blueberry Festival Aug. 6, and the Apple Pumpkin Festival Sept. 24.

“We have a few more events that we are looking into, but they haven’t been finalized yet,” Hammond wrote. “This week we will also have an exhibit in the Computer Science Showcase at the Roux Institute in Portland.”

For more information visit the team’s website, Blue Crew may also be found on Facebook, Instagram and Youtube.

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