The Black Knights win district!

Congratulations to the Penn High School Robotics Team 135! On March 13th and 14th, the team went down to Kokomo to compete and brought back a first place win as well as the Chairman’s Award!

The event included thirty-two teams from across Indiana. The Black Knights played twenty qualifying matches, two quarterfinals, three semifinals and two final matches. Originally, there were three final matches and they had to win two out of those three to win District, but the Black Knight dominated the competition winning the first two matches 142 to 101, and 152 to 77.

FRC Mentors

Aileen Norton, a member of Team 135, sat down with PNN reporters and explained the inner workings of the competitions. “After qualifying matches, each team is ranked from one to thirty-two. The first 8 teams become Alliance Captains and can choose two other teams to join them in finals.”

“Team 135 seated 3rd after qualifications, but Team 234, Cyber Blue, who ranked first after qualifiers, asked us to join them. Which was amazing, but entirely unexpected,” Norton added. The third team that was chosen was Team 3865, Not Your Average Roboticists. This Red Alliance went on to win the first 2 final matches and win the district over all.

The Black Knights also took home the Chairman’s Award, the most prestigious award in FIRST  because it is entirely non-robot related but has to do with how a team builds leadership and spreads the message of FIRST in their community.

The submission package for the Chairman’s Award has three parts, the essay, the presentation/interview with the judges, and the video. Kevin Chamberlin and Julie Stevenson, two seniors and the two award captains, collaborated on the essay and other members also participated.

Chamberlin, Stevenson and Connor Russell, combined efforts on the presentation portion. Their presentation was followed by a five minute Q&A between the judges and members.

Evan Witous led a team in the video editing process. The video itself included Coach Langfeldt, PRPO(Penn Robotic Parent Organization) member Ms. Varmette, and five separate team members, Chamberlin, Stevenson, Russell, Norton, and Hannah Gates. The students reflected on stories of WIT Day (Women in Technology), Summer Camps, and past competitions.

Chamberlin brought up the story of a camper Max yelling, “KEVIN!” and realizing his [Chamberlin’s] impact on this camper. He also discussed how he uses robotics in other aspects of his life.

Stevenson talked about her experience with WIT and how she went from student to mentor.

Russell talked about team bonding and memories, speaking of staying up until midnight or later and trips to the bowling alley.

Norton discussed her previous competitions and summed up her experience with one sentence, “And that was when I fell in love with robotics.”

Gates discussed the stresses and frustrations that fundraising for robotics can bring, but also the pay off of seeing the robot work.

All of these contributions led to Chairman’s Award.

Now the team move onto the State competition, and if they place, they will compete at Worlds.

Stay tuned to PNN as we bring you more on the Black Knights, Team 135, and their season. Use the hashtag #omg135 to tweet about them, and follow them @FRCTeam135.

Penn FRC wins Kokomo competition and the Chairman's Award!

Penn Robotics, the Black Knights, wins Kokomo competition and the Chairman’s Award!

FRC Mentors

Team 135 mentors smile for a picture after winning District