TuTu Turtles Compete in 2nd FRC Season, Earn Industrial Design Award

This winter, the TuTu Turtles (9003) robotics team embarked on its second season as a part of the FIRST® Robotics Competition (FRC).
The team transitioned from the FIRST® Tech Challenge (FTC) to FRC last year, providing them the opportunity to build bigger robots (up to 60 inches and 120 lbs) and compete at a larger scale.

This year’s theme, CRESCENDO presented by Haas, tasked teams to use their STEM skills to build a robot that could take discs and place or shoot them in different goals while working in an alliance with two other teams. Human players also contributed by providing discs and scoring points from the sidelines while the drivers controlled the robot. These guidelines required the students to build the robot, learning construction skills, how to connect and power motors, programming and coding the robot to complete certain tasks without drivers, and many other skills. 

The TuTu Turtles constructed a practice robot, competition robot, and field of play during the School’s January Term and winter athletics season ahead of their first competition on March 1-3 at Blacksburg High School in Blacksburg, Va. During the competition, the team advanced to the semi-finals after winning several heats. They also earned the Ion All-Star Award for their use of Ion Rev products in their robot, the only award given that came with a monetary prize. 

The following weekend, the team was back on the road traveling to Portsmouth, Va. to compete at Churchland High School. After success early on in the competition, the TuTu Turtles were ranked fourth out of 23 teams at the end of the qualification matches. They earned the title of Third Seed Alliance Captain and picked two strong partners to join their alliance in the playoffs. The alliance ended the weekend in third place overall after a semi-final loss just two points shy of their competitors. During the competition, the TuTu Turtles were also presented the Industrial Design Award sponsored by General Motors for the design and construction of their robot, which the presenter described as "ingenious."

“I have endless pride in this team. They are an amazing group of students who work hard as a team to tackle challenges and obstacles,” said Mr. Dan Waters, one of the TuTu Turtles’ coaches. “I cannot even begin to convey the praise I’ve heard from competition volunteers and other mentors about this group of professional and strong young women from Chatham Hall.”

During the season, Maryn Call ‘26 was named a FIRST Dean’s List Award Semi-Finalist. Her second year as a TuTu Turtle, Call was nominated in recognition of her leadership on the team. 

“Maryn’s gift for collaboration and encouragement truly helps the whole team shine through her support of newer members. She also uses her creative talents to design buttons and necessary parts for the robot, and her enthusiasm and spirit has allowed the TuTu Turtles to form stronger bonds with other FRC teams,” said teammate Catherine Nichols ‘24, who helped prepare Call’s nomination.

Following their performance during the regular season, the TuTu Turtles ranked in the top 20 teams in the FIRST Chesapeake District, earning them a place at the FRC District Championships. The team will travel to Petersburg, Va. on April 3-6 to compete.

“With this being our second season in the FRC, I’m really proud of how we’ve done so far. We’re growing as a team. I’m so excited to hear about the TuTu Turtles after I’ve graduated because I know they’re going to keep getting better and better,” said team captain Caroline Greganti ‘24.
800 Chatham Hall Circle  •  Chatham, VA 24531
+1 434.432.2941  •  admissions@chathamhall.org
Day and boarding school for girls grades 9-12 in the Episcopal tradition.

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