Knights of Katahdin 9055, a FIRST Robotics Competition [FRC] team from Wilton is seen after winning at Mainely Spirit held Saturday, Sept. 30, in Oakland. The off season event is an opportunity for new members to learn more about FRC and returning members to take on new or expanded roles before the new season starts in January. Submitted photo

REGION — Two local robotics teams competed at Mainely Spirit, an off season event of FIRST Robotics Competition [FRC] on Saturday, Sept. 30, in Oakland with a team from Wilton part of the winning alliance.

FIRST is an abbreviation of For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology. FIRST Robotics Competition is an international high school robotics program. It combines the excitement of sport with the rigors of science and technology, according to the FRC website.

Blue Crew 6153 featuring students from Mt. Blue High School in Farmington and Spruce Mountain High School in Jay worked with team 2648, Infinite Loop from Messalonskee High School, to help run the event.

“Our team was able to use this event as a fundraiser while also allowing new members to gain an understanding of what a FIRST event is like,” team member Mason Labonte wrote in an email to the Livermore Falls Advertiser. “Since the school year has started, our new recruits have been practicing their driving skills for this event.”

From Maine STREAM Place, Inc. in Wilton, Knights Of Katahdin 9055 won the competition. “After qualification matches concluded, the Knights were the highest ranked team at the event, thereby giving them the first pick of an alliance partner for the playoff rounds,” Joseph O’Brien, team mentor wrote in an email to the Livermore Falls Advertiser.

The Knights with their alliance partners B.E.R.T 133 of Standish and Team 9980 of Falmouth went undefeated during the playoffs, scoring a tournament high of 147 points in the final round, O’Brien noted.  In playoffs, Brett Allen of Farmington drove the robot while Chris Davidson of Farmington operated the robot’s other controls, he wrote, adding other team members who drove/operated for the Knights during the tournament were Kermit Clark of Farmington, Makayla Brackley of Strong and Erin Fletcher from New Vineyard.

Results were a bit different for Blue Crew 6153.


“The beginning of the event started off slow for us, as the arm on our robot, Marauder, was unfortunately not operational,” Labonte indicated. “We were able to continue competing by picking up cubes from the floor as well as playing defense and by the end of qualifications we were in eighth place.

“At the beginning of alliance selection, we were selected as the third seed alliance captain. When picking alliance partners, our first choice was the Iron Tigers [team 4041 from Gardiner], and our second choice was Delta Prime Robotics [team 4473 from the Richmond area]. We were able to fix Marauder’s arm by playoffs, and we played two matches before being eliminated.”

The Knights were a rookie team last year while Mt. Blue and Spruce Mountain joined forces in 2022. Last year both teams won awards while competing at the New England District SE Mass Event in Bridgewater, Massachusetts.

In January the new season begins. A new theme for FRC will be chosen using the basics of STEM [science, technology, engineering and mathematics]. After details of game play and point possibilities are shared, teams spend weeks designing and programming a robot to best meet those goals. Members also spend time working on safety considerations, entrepreneurship and other aspects of the program.

Teams then compete at state and regional events to earn points and awards, all with the goal of qualifying for the world competition in April.

Students at Mt. Blue High School should speak with advisor Richard Wilde or email about joining Blue Crew 6153 while those at Spruce Mountain should speak with Rob Taylor or email joining the team.

Students interested in joining the Knights should call Leah O’Brien of Maine STREAM Place, Inc. at 207-645-3171.

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