Triple Helix Stacks the Odds

MHS Robotics Team victory in FIRST Virginia Regional Robotics competition

Triple Helix Team members celebrate victory and a successful competition together

Daniel Paranuk, Staff Writer

Against all odds, the Menchville Robotics Team 2362 (Triple Helix), allied with two other Virginia teams (B.O.T. 1610 and Sparky 384) drove their way to a first place victory in the FIRST Virginia Regional Robotics competition. After two days of rough qualifiers, ending up as the 32nd seated team out of 64 teams, the team received a second chance when alliance leader Sparky 384 chose Triple Helix to be alliance partners going into the semifinals. The event took place Saturday, March 21 in Richmond.
Triple Helix had issues with their robot, Genome Eta, during the first two days of the competition, leading to low qualifying scores despite having a top-notch build. Problems included a broken encoder, a key part that converts certain kinds of data into another kind of data to be used by the robot, and a sheared hexshaft on the fondly named “Doc Ock arm”. Aside from these setbacks, when the robot worked, it ran like a well-oiled machine; scoring up to 70 points alone. Genome Eta caught the attention of alliance leaders regardless of the team’s bad luck at the start of the competition.
As Semi-Finals ensued, Triple Helix and their alliance immediately made an impression with high scores and efficient robot maneuvers. Briefly, the alliance set the high score for the weekend of 144 points near the end of the Semi-Finals. Leading the scoreboard as the 1st seated alliance going into Finals, 2363 and allies faced teams Talon 540, Team Rembrandts 4481, and Blue Cheese 1086 in a fierce competition for the chance to go to Nationals in St. Louis. Three final matches ensued, with both teams winning one match each and going to a final tiebreaker where Triple Helix and their allies 1610 and 384 pulled out the victory as wild cheers broke out across the crowd, especially from the yellow and orange-clad sections.
Triple Helix prepares for the Chesapeake Regional in DC before heading off to St. Louis to compete in the FRC National Competition. Wish them luck as they fight against teams from around the world to prove who can build a better bot.