Us First Robotics

US FIRST continues to expand and now has over 7,331 teams in 25 countries. The PTR Group believes that US FIRST Robotics represents an important investment in our efforts to develop engineers and scientists for a new generation.  To that end, we directly sponsor and provide mentors to four separate teams around the country.  Our employees freely give of their time and expertise to help guide the students in the ways of professional engineering approaches.  These efforts resulted in many of our team's students receiving scholarships to STEM-related programs at various universities around the nation.

The competition, promoted by renowned innovator Dean Kamen, is an international program to challenge youths in a technical and social venue.  The nature of the competition is kept secret until the kick-off day in early January.  Teams are then given six weeks to design, build, and test their robot, so the ability to manage time and resources is a large part of the project.  The teams then compete in one to three regional competitions and attempt to qualify for a berth to the national competition.  US FIRST encourages a productive, pedagogic environment in which all teams prosper through the help and guidance of the collective experience.  The PTR Group is proud to provide facilities, financial support and technical expertise to enhance that experience. 

Our teams are:

Follow this link to view the animation video for this year's game, Power Up:

Go teams and we'll see you on the field in 2018!

Team 116, Epsilon Delta, Herndon HS / NASA HQ, Herndon, VA

As one of only 200 beta-test teams in the U.S. for the 2018 controls system, Team 116 was awarded a singular opportunity to help test and debug the control system prior to it being delivered to the rest of the teams in January.  As an evangelist for the latest control system, Team 116 did several outreach events to teams in the DC/Baltimore area to demonstrate and explain the new controls and their operation.  This included presenting to the DC area FIRST workshop at George Mason High School in Falls Church, VA where dozens of FRC teams got their first look at the 2018 controls. 

In 2018, Team 116 competed in both the Northern VA competition in Haymarket, VA, and the  Washington, DC competition in Alexandria, VA.  While our showing in Haymarket  was plagued with machine failures and an inexperienced drive team, by the DC competition the robot and drive team had worked out most of the kinks.  We made it to the elimination rounds and were doing very well as one of the alliance captains making it all the way to the semi-finals.  Unfortunately, a broken drive chain and problems in replacing it caused our alliance to have to drop out of the competition.

Our team build captain, Kelsey Rodgers, was also selected as a Dean's List Semi-Finalist to compete for one of four Finalist slots at the District Championship.  Unfortunately, she did not get one of the four slots for World Championship, but she did a great job with the interviews to get the semi-finalist slot.  We're very proud of her and she is a fine representative of Team 116.

Nonetheless, Team 116 did qualify for the District Championships at the U. MD Xfinity Center where we were a capable robot and showed good ability for both stacking cubes and delivering them to the vault.  And, just when we thought things were going well, a series of device failures and mismatched alliances left us below the cut off for elimination selections.  So, while the season didn't go as well as we had hoped, we still had a good season and learned a lot about what construction techniques work well and which ones fall short. 

Throughout 2017/18, Team 116 was involved in a number of major outreach events including the Smithsonian Museum’s Air and Scare Halloween event and a technology demonstration event to generate interest in STEM-related fields at the Maker Faire at George Mason University.  In addition to these events, the team attended the USA Science and Engineering Festival in Washington, DC and gave presentations and demonstrations at the Girl Scout Maker Faire, Armstrong Elementary School, and the Herndon Festival. 

PTR Director of Technology, Mike Anderson, is the 2nd lead mentor and mentors the software and operations interface squads on the team.


Team 1296, Robo-Jackets, Rockwall HS, Rockwall TX

The 2018 season saw a great opportunity to build a solid machine for the Power Up game.  After modeling the robot in CAD, we constructed a good machine with multiple capabilities specifically targeting this year's challenges.  We did very well at the Dallas Regional competition where we not only made it to the elimination rounds, but also won the prestigious Chairman's Award.  Additionally, one of our student's, Hannah Cowgill, qualified as a Dean's List Finalist. 

At the Oklahoma Regional event, we again made the elimination rounds and were captain of the number two seed alliance.  Our alliance put up a valiant struggle and advanced all the way to the semi-finals only to be knocked out in a tough fought set of matches.  However, the team had a great time this season and we thank The PTR Group for their continued sponsorship of the team. 

PTR Consultant Keith Buchanan acts as a mentor to the team.


Team 2537, Space RAIDers, Atholton HS, Columbia MD

Coming off a good 2017 season, the 2018 Space RAIDers team had high hopes for their robot design.  We engineered a good performer and a reliable machine making the elimination rounds in both of our pre-District competitions.  We were the 6th alliance captains at the Greater DC event in Alexandria, VA, but were knocked out of the competition by the winning finalist alliance in the first round.

At the Central Maryland competition, we again showed a strong team with our getting into the elimination rounds.  We did make it to the semi-finals before getting knocked out of the competition.  However, our combined scores from this and the Greater DC competition qualified us for the District Championship.

At the District Championship at the U. MD Xfinity Center, we again showed what a solid robot and great drive team can do.  Getting selected for the 8th seed alliance, the Space RAIDers worked with our fellow alliance members to the finals before losing to a great alliance.  And, although we didn't win, we did qualify for the World Championships in Detroit on April 25 -27, 2018!

We wish to thank The PTR Group for being a continuing sponsor for our team over the past few years.  And, we're looking forward to hopefully getting to the Einstein field at the World Championships.

PTR Director of Technology, Mike Anderson, provides guidance and helps with the team.


Team 5338, RoboLoCo, Monroe Technology Center, Leesburg, VA

Founded in 2014, Team 5338 continues to put in a strong showing in our competitions.  At the Northern VA competition in Haymarket, VA, we made the elimination rounds but, unfortunately, got knocked out in the quarter finals.  This competition showed us where to improve on the robot to get ready for the Greater DC competition in Alexandria, VA.  

At the Greater DC competition, we again had a strong showing and not only made the elimination rounds, but also made it all the way to the semi-finals before getting knocked out by the winners of the entire competition.  Our showing at both the Northern VA and Greater DC competitions qualified us for the District Championships.

At the District Championships, we had high hopes given our showings in the previous competitions. We competed well, but mechanical problems with the robot caused us to finish 46th out of 60 teams.  A disappointing finish to what was otherwise a very good season.  Nonethelesss, we continue to show that a team comprised of students from all over Loudon County with no real home school can be a serious contender in the Chesapeake Region.  .

PTR Director of Technology, Mike Anderson, provides guidance and helps with the team.