PORTSMOUTH - Franklin High School Robotics team No. 1610 Blackwater Robotics won the 2nd annual robotics competition hosted at Churchland High School this past weekend.  Sponsored by FIRST Chesapeake, the event was open to the public.  FHS competed with 27 other teams of students from across Virginia, North Carolina and Maryland.

FIRST Robotics uses robots as the vehicle to bring science, technology, engineering and math enrichment programs and competitions to youth in the District of Columbia, Maryland and Virginia area.

Their mission is to help with the continued promotion of inspiring youth to become science and technology leaders by engaging them in robotics programs that build STEM.

Team 1610 was ranked first with a record of 15-3-0 and won the following awards:

  • District Event Winner
  • Quality Award sponsored by Motorola Solutions Foundation

Way to go, Broncos!

Liz Burgess, one of the teacher mentors, said this win will enable the team to compete in Richmond on the weekend of April 8-9.

Tidewater News:  http://www.tidewaternews.com/2017/03/22/fhs-robotics-takes-the-win/

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FIRST was founded in 1989 to inspire young people's interest and participation in science and technology. Based in Manchester, NH, the 501 (c) (3) not-for-profit public charity designs accessible, innovative programs that motivate young people to pursue education and career opportunities in science, technology, engineering, and math, while building self-confidence, knowledge, and life skills.

FIRST's programs include FIRST LEGO League Jr.FIRST LEGO LeagueFIRST Tech Challenge, and the FIRST Robotics Competition.

FIRST's Vision

"To transform our culture by creating a world where science and technology are celebrated and where young people dream of becoming science and technology leaders."

-Dean Kamen, Founder

FIRST's Mission

Our mission is to inspire young people to be science and technology leaders, by engaging them in exciting mentor-based programs that build science, engineering and technology skills, that inspire innovation, and that foster well-rounded life capabilities including self-confidence, communication, and leadership.

Thanks to all of our generous sponsors for the 2019 season!

Franklin-Southampton Charities

Franklin City Educational Foundation

Franklin Rotary Club

Camp Foundation

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We are always seeking additional sponsorships to help offset the costs of this program.  Please contact us if you would like to help!


Franklin High School FIRST Robotics Team 1610, Blackwater Robotics, was founded in 2005 as BOT, the "Builders of Tomorrow," after seeing a nearby team in competition.  S.P. Morton Elementary School already boasted a FIRST LEGO League team and the same coach, Liz Burgess, started our FRC team..  Our team is comprised of students from 8th-12th grades at both J. P. King Middle School and Franklin High School.

Our first competition was the 2005 NASA/VCU Regional playing Triple Play with our robot "MB". After the qualification rounds we seeded in the top 8, picked our friends 616 and Hawaii 510 as alliance partners, and went all the way to compete in the semi-finals. We also took home the Highest Rookie Seed and Rookie All-Star awards. Winning the Rookie All-Star award gave us a ticket to play at the FIRST World -Championship in Atlanta, Georgia, where we finished with a 5-2-0 record in the Curie Division.

Coming off an awesome rookie season, we didn't slow down and started preparing for the 2006 season. We competed in the 2006 NASA/VCU Regional playing Aim High with our robot "Trouble." We seeded 7th out of 64 teams with a record of 7-1-0, teamed up with Metal-In-Motion 343 and Team Talon 1598 for the elimination tournament. Our alliance went undefeated through the quarterfinals, semifinals, and finals, earning our alliance the 2006 NASA/VCU Regional Championship.

We struggled the next few years due to moving build locations multiple times and losing mentors.

2007: Rack N Roll: Ranked 54 out of 66 teams. Regional Finalist with teams 928 and 623.

2008: Overdrive: Ranked 16 out of 64 teams, not selected to elimination tournament.

2009: Lunacy: Did not compete due to losing access to our build space.

2010: Breakaway: Ranked 26 out of 63 teams, not selected to elimination tournament.

2011: Logomotion: Ranked 11 out of 64 teams. Regional Quarterfinalist with teams 1598 and 1095.

2012, playing Rebound Rumble was our "rebound" season and the first time we advanced to the semi-finals since 2007. We ranked 7th out of 64 teams. Our elimination alliance partmers at the Virginia Regional were teams 1699 and 1598.

2013 brought our first season attending two regional competitions. Playing Ultimate Ascent, we attended the Palmetto Regional in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, and ranked 15 out of 65 teams. Our alliance with teams 1772 and 1287 advanced to the semi-finals. A great performance at Palmetto prepared us for our second regional of the season. We ranked low at the event but were chosen to a great alliance with teams 1541 and 1262 and went on to win the event, marking our second regional win.

2014: Virginia Regional Champions with teams 2607 and 384, Chesapeake Regional Finalists with teams 1741 and 4949, Chesapeake Regional Quality Award

2015: Virginia Regional Champions with teams 384 and 2363.  Chesapeake Regional Finalists with teams 2534 and 836.

2016:  We moved to the district style of play, having to compete in two district qualifying events to earn points to qualify for the district championship.  We played well at both qualifying events in Blacksburg and Portsmouth and qualified for the District Championship in Maryland.  While we made the elimination rounds at all three events, we did not qualify for the World Championship.

2017: Franklin High School FIRST Robotics Team 1610 is excited to announce our new team name:  Blackwater Robotics.  Drawing inspiration from a picture of the Union Camp tugboat “Corinthia,” the rebranded name and logo celebrate the history of Franklin and the significance the Blackwater River had on the growth and history of the city.  FIRST Chesapeake Hampton Roads District Event winners, #1 Seed, and Quality Award winner.

2018: FIRST Chesapeake District Central VA Event winners and Quality Award. Excellence in Engineering Award at the Hampton Roads district event.

2019FIRST Chesapeake District Central VA Event finalists and Judges' Award. FIRST Chesapeake District Hampton Roads Event winners. Selected to the 3rd seed alliance at the World Championship in Detroit and played in our first ever championship playoff matches with a team of only six students.


View our complete team history on The Blue Alliance.

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