Blue Ridge Brawl crowns robotics champion at Roanoke College

Published: Oct. 8, 2022 at 7:57 PM EDT
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SALEM, Va. (WDBJ) - High School students across Virginia and Tennessee came together for an off-season contest Saturday and put their moves on display.

It was a day that ten high school robotics teams have been tirelessly preparing for.

Roanoke College and Spartan Robotics co-hosted the Blue Ridge Brawl Saturday, a FIRST Robotics competition.

“For competitions, we have to set up game pieces. So, we have to make those, which takes a lot of time. We actually have to build a robot. We have to take apart last year’s robot,” said Clara Prillaman, who has been with the Martinsville Stags Robotic team for all four years of high school.

“It’s like I have a second home. So, I can go somewhere with all my friends, and we can just have a good time.”

As the safety captain, she ensures everyone follows protocols and oversees outfit designs.

“Martinsville, which is rural and farmland. So, we’re inspired by John Deere tractors. So, we have our green jumpsuits and our yellow hard hat.”

During the challenging field, game robots get points by collecting balls and scoring. But one of the main goals is to hang the robot after the horn because it gets them more points.

“It requires tenacity, determination. It requires flexibility and having that adaptability personality to be able to think quickly when things don’t go right,” added Joanie Petti, mentor for the Stags Robotic team.

Petti says Robotics is definitely a sport, and gives students the opportunity to find a lifelong career in STEM.

“Maybe they were mechanically inclined, maybe they loved cars, maybe they loved engines or electricity. This gives them the hands-on experience to be able to put that to work and then develop their career later on.”

Salem Spartan Robotics and Christiansburg Copperhead Robotics won the competition. The Stags Robotics team took third place.

Here is a full list of the teams that competed:

Copperhead Robotics from Christiansburg, VA. Copperhead Robotics B-Team from Christiansburg, VA. Cometbots from South Boston, VA. The STAGS from Martinsville, VA. Flagship from Knoxville, TN. Botetourt 4-H Robotics from Buchanan, VA. Spartan Robotics from Salem, VA. Mean Caimans from Cedar Bluff, VA. CAVBOTICS from Fairfax, VA. Tex Mex Lizards from Richmond, VA.