Reston Robotics Proves Resistance is Futile

Reston Robotics Proves Resistance is Futile

<C://>Hawks team members discuss their robot with an FTC Judge who has come to visit their pit area.

<C://>Hawks team members discuss their robot with an FTC Judge who has come to visit their pit area. Photos contributed

On a crackling crisp morning Miranda and JohnAngelo stand waiting for a door minder to let them into Nova Labs in Reston. This isn’t some future terminator creators sneaking into a maker space on Isaac Newton Square. These are members of South Lakes High’s championship Hawks robotics team hunkering down to ready their robot for an all-out attack on the FTC State Tournament.

Mary Thompson, Coach for the group, is impressed by the way the team has pulled itself up into contention.

“Perseverance pays off,” she says, with more than a little pride in the association these teens are building. “We’ve had some rough spots but the goals have put us all on the same page.”

“It's been a great time, we have bonded as a team,” agreed the team’s captain, Noah Wallace. “I know they will succeed for many years to come but I will be moving on to college soon.”

With a number of newbies this year, and all the little troubles that go with learning how to get along and get the job done, hopes weren’t high. But with impressive engineering fixes, some campaigning, and a little bit of good luck thrown in for good measure, the team was picked as a cohort to another champion. Making alliances, and building on the strengths of other competitors, is also a big part of the robotic events organized by FIRST (For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology), the heart-child of inventor and entrepreneur Dean Kamen.

Other team members include: Joseph Arakelian, JohnAngelo Carver, Rohan Chandra, Zoe Etherton, Mark Laquindanum, Miranda Masters, Gary Quaresima, Ahmed Rabani and Andrew Thompson.

The team heads to Richmond for the big meet on Saturday, Feb. 13 and has their fingers crossed for a trophy joining them for the ride home. Since, unlike the football and basketball teams, there will be no crowd of well wishers seeing them off, or even school-provided transportation, they ask that their supporters simply drive remote control helicopters, or Roombas, around their living rooms at noon, in a show of solidarity. In lieu of this, for those without robotics of any kind, people may run their can-openers or make some toast.