By Marie Leary
The Mercy TechTigers 3654 won their second FIRST® Robotics championship banner in March at the Waterbury District event. The TechTigers, an all-girl robotics team from Mercy High School Middletown, excelled at this year’s game Destination: DEEP SPACE and earned the win with two consecutive victories FIRST®, an acronym “For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology,” was founded in 1989 to help design programs that help the building of science and technology and generate interest in the STEM field for young people.
The Destination: DEEP SPACE game involved two alliances of three teams each competing to place hatch covers and rubber balls or “cargo” on rockets and cargo ships before returning to their HAB (habitation) platform to climb at the end of the match. Each alliance has their own Alliance Station that is positioned at one of the ends of the field. The Alliance Station is where drivers control their robots, human players deliver game pieces to robots, and coaches give advice to their team members. Each Alliance Station features two game piece holding areas on the sides of the driver stations. Obstacles, such as a sandstorm, happen during the matches. The sandstorm is installed above each Alliance Station and is used to obscure the drive team's vision during the sandstorm period. Once that period ends, the sandstorm retracts in order to allow drivers to see the field for the remainder of the match.
The robotics event was hosted at Wilby High School in Waterbury. Forty-one teams took part in the three-day tournament FIRST® Robotics program. This is the TechTigers’ second win at the Waterbury event (prior win was in 2017). Teams who collect enough points in the eight-week District season advance to qualify for the New England Regional Championships at Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI) April 10-13.
The TechTigers are in their ninth season in the FIRST® Robotics Competition (FRC) program. The team consists of twenty-three Mercy High School students and nine professionals who serve as mentors. The team is supported by their school, and leading sponsors; United Technologies, Bob’s Discount Furniture, Filipino-American Association of Engineers, Inc., Tsunami Tsolutions, and Karen and Tom Keenan.
The mission of FIRST® is to inspire young people to be science and technology leaders and innovators, by engaging them in exciting mentorbased programs that build science, engineering, and technology skills, that inspire innovation, and that foster well-rounded life capabilities including self-confidence, communication, and leadership. The TechTigers are one of only two all-girl teams of the 210 teams who participate in the New England Region.
More information about the team can be found at techtigers3654.org/ and the team can be supported at robotics.mercyhigh.com.