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Robotics team finds success, new workshop

(Oct. 3, 2014) Worcester County’s newest robotics team topped off its rookie year with a win at the Battle O’ Baltimore in Owings Mills on Sept. 20. 

Team Titanium-Wrecks, one of Worcester County’s high school robotics teams, celebrates a win at the Battle O’ Baltimore FIRST Robotics off-season competition last month in Baltimore. More than 30 teams competed and one alliance of four teams won the final round in one of the lowest scoring matches known to the judges, mentor Paul Suplee said. (Photo courtesy of Team Titanium-Wrecks)


Team Titanium-Wrecks’ victory among 32 teams was one of several titles the 23-member group earned since launching last May. The team has also taken home awards including Rookie All-Star at the D.C. Regional competition and Rookie Inspiration at the Chesapeake Regionals. Team members also scored 25th out of 100 in the Galileo Division at the World Championships in St. Louis this spring.

“They are so proud of their accomplishments and we mentors simply could not be any prouder,” team mentor Paul Suplee said.

Team T-Wrecks started with four members last year, when it opened in a temporary shop in West Ocean City. One of the independent team’s biggest struggles its rookie year has been finding a home base— an issue that will finally go to rest soon as the team prepares to move into its new Snow Hill shop.

After leaving West Ocean City, teammates worked out of a Berlin garage last winter, another temporary arrangement. Then, they operated out of four different spots preparing for the Battle O’ Baltimore, making the win even better, Suplee said.

“Because we don’t have a shop (right now) we were pulling parts from four different locations,” he said. “When we got there, our robot wasn’t even functional.”

But teammates pulled the machine together for the win on a four-team alliance in one of the lowest-scoring matches the judges had seen, Suplee said.

Team T-Wrecks will move into the second story of the old Snow Hill Firehouse later this month or early next, after electricity and safety issues are addressed.

“It’s really exciting. We were between a rock and a hard place and Snow Hill found space,” Suplee said.

In the meantime, the team has some major projects in the works for its off-season, including submersibles that will eventually travel off the coast to catch video of offshore reefs.

“We’ve got some really cool projects going on. We’re ramping up the fundraising because we want to do air, too. So we’ll be land, sea and air,” Suplee said.

That includes the team’s fundraiser at Seacrets on Saturday, Oct. 25, where there will be a $10 buffet and representatives from NASA on site. Team T-Wrecks will split the proceeds with local charity Believe in Tomorrow.

The team hosts public, private and homeschooled students from across the county and has added younger members in recent months, Suplee said.

“We’re getting a lot of young students now, down to seventh grade. Not all robotics teams like that, but we love that,” he said.

Visit Team Titanium Wrecks online at www.team-t-wrecks.org or by searching “Titanium-Wrecks-Team-4945” on Facebook.

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