For the first time ever, a Williamson County team has won big in the FIRST Robotics League. This past Saturday the Franklin High School robotics team was declared winner of the FIRST Robotics Smokey Mountain Regional Competition in Knoxville, TN and will advance to the FIRST World Robotics Competition in Houston, TX April 18th-21st.
The team, led by physics teacher Alexander Domkowski, took home the highest Rookie team award in their first season in 2012. It has not been easy for this small but dedicated team. This year’s competition challenge was released in early January, starting the build season which ended on February 20. The team met unexpected obstacles during this time including lost work days due to school closings.
To make up for lost time the team spent several hours every school day working on and practicing with their robot Kronos. Because of their impressive performance throughout the competition, the Franklin Robokomodos beat out other competitors and were invited onto a three team alliance by fellow competitors Mountain Area Robotics (MARS) from Morgantown, West Virginia and the Secret City Robotics Team from Oak Ridge TN. The team of three consistently outperformed other fierce competitors to earn the Regional Championship title.
According to team captain and driver, Michael Brown, “It has been a challenging year, but it is exciting to see hard work, long days and perseverance pay off. At the competition, I was thrilled we were picked to be a part of the finals tournament, but from there to go undefeated with our alliance and actually win was surreal. It was especially meaningful to
win and advance to worlds in Mr. Domkowski’s last year. I look forward to building on this success and the future of robotics in Williamson County.”
The Franklin Robokomodos have been able to come this far under the generous sponsorship of UL Laboratories and Schneider Electric. Team coach and founder Domkowski, affectionately known by team members as “Domkow,” says he is grateful for the incredible support of these two sponsors and hopes to rally the school and greater community around the team.
“The kids have worked hard for a once in a lifetime opportunity and it would be sad for them to miss it.” According to Domkowski, the team has just a few days to raise additional funding to attend the championship round in Houston, meaning they need additional corporate sponsors and community support to make this dream a reality.
This win also is important to coach Domkowski who is retiring at the end of this year. He hopes to give his team the opportunity to go as far as they are able. According to “Domkow” Houston is not just a competition. It is “important for the kids because it will change their worldview.”