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The No. 2 seed FIRST Robotics alliance was well on its way to winning the first round of the Richmond Regional, when the Franklin High School Team 1610 robot, “Chad,” was accidentally backed into a stack of totes, knocking over 36 points.

As the beeping started to count down the final seconds of the “Recycle Rush” match, the teams in the alliance tried to scramble for points, but the blue group, captained by Talon 540 from Godwin High School, picked up the 102-84 first-round victory.

“I thought that would cause us to lose the regional,” said Cindy Mitrovic, 15, who is the team captain.

Mitrovic had also been driving the robot and she was admittedly upset. There was still hope, though, as the finals are a best two-of-three competition. Sarah Conner, who operated the robot’s arm, was concerned about recovering.

“I was worried if it would impact the remaining matches for our alliance,” she said. “Being down a match and having to win two in a row was extremely tough.”

The students and mentors of the Franklin High School FIRST Robotics Team 1610 have bagged their robot and are ready to head to Virginia Commonwealth University to compete in the regional for this season’s challenge, “Recycle Rush.”

The object of “Recycle Rush” is to stack plastic shipping totes on top of scoring platforms. Teams gain significantly more points for placing recycling bins on top of the stacks.

On Sunday, many local students got on their hands and knees to pretend to be… robots?

It was all part of the Franklin High School FIRST Robotics team’s strategy session, in which several area teams were invited to the Charles Street Gym to visualize the rules for the upcoming season, titled “Recycle Rush.” Teams were experimenting with the rules for the first time, as the FIRST Robotics program kicked off this past Saturday.