Free and open to the public! Forty of the best and brightest high school robotics teams will be competing in this two day event. Come out and cheer on your favorite team or learn more about bringing FIRST Robotics programs to your community.

FIRST Robotics Competition is recognized as the premier high school engineering challenge. Teams of students, working closely with teachers and volunteer mentors, have six weeks to conceptualize, design, build, program, modify and test a robot to participate in a competition that changes each year. Every January, FIRST unveils the challenge or “game” at an annual kick-off event that is simulcast to locations around the world.

Teams receive a kit of common parts that are used to build the core systems of their robots, but they won’t find an instruction manual. No two robots will be built or operated in exactly the same way! Students work with hundreds of components, including engineering mainstays such as programmable radio controllers, motors, electrical circuitry, pneumatic components and mechanical parts. Each team has to decide its own game strategy, and has to design and fabricate a machine within tight specifications on size, weight and materials.

Following the six-week design and build phase, teams enter two of seven District competitions in the District of Columbia, Maryland, and Virginia. Teams compete for scores that will earn them a place at the FIRST Chesapeake District Championship in Richmond, Virginia. (Winners from FIRST Chesapeake will compete at the FIRST World Championship in St. Louis.)

Saturday, March 4th through Sunday, March 5th (8:30 am until 5:00 pm)
Blacksburg High School | 3401 Bruin Lane, Blacksburg, VA 24060

For more info visit:

Also, be sure to check out the Virginia-DC FIRST LEGO League Jr. Expo on Saturday, March 4th from 10am to 1pm.


Many volunteers are needed to make this event a success. Please consider volunteering this weekend. Four more judges are still needed. Qualifications to be a judge include: that you enjoy STEM and do not have a conflict of interest for the last 3 years with any of the First Robotics teams. To volunteer see the instructions below:

  • Sign up here for the tournament as soon as you can.  If you are 18, some positions may take longer (apply anyway).
  • Choose the FIRST Chesapeake District Southwest Qualifier, March 3-5 for the Blacksburg tournament.
  • Parents and other adults we really need volunteers for Field Disassembly on Sunday 3/5/17 night. Just show up.
  • Email Dee Tomczak and let her know you’re volunteering to be a judge. Include your contact info and a few sentences for a bio.
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