Breakaway A Journey of Team 3937

Written by Zach Bissell


FIRST (For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology), a robotics program that promotes STEM education to students around the world, was founded by Dean Kamen in 1992. FIRST includes four different stages: FIRST Robotics Competition, FIRST Tech Challenge, FIRST Lego League and FIRST Lego League Jr. FIRST strives to teach students to be gracious in everything they do.

Breakaway competes in FIRST Robotics Competition or FRC. There are thousands of teams around the world that compete in this branch of robotics. FIRST releases a new game every year, where teams must build a robot that can complete specific tasks. FIRST also creates requirements to keep robots within certain dimensions, weight and specifications. Teams can read a game manual to fully understand the game and its rules. Aside from the basics, teams are able to use their minds and skills to build an efficient and creative robot.

Teams receive right around six weeks to prototype, design, build and test their robots. Rookie teams receive some help through gifted sponsorships, but after teams finish their first season, it’s their job to find ways to obtain sponsorships and materials. Teams have a deadline and must bag up their robots by the specified date and time.

A drive team consists of a driver, operator, human player(s) and coach. The driver's job is to maneuver the robot throughout the field. The operator's job is to control the robot's mechanisms that interact with the field elements. The human player's job is to interact with the robot and field without controls. The coach's job is to communicate with the other members of the drive team, watch different aspects of the match and give advice.

FIRST in Arkansas


Depending on location in the world, teams compete at regionals or districts. Teams who win these competitions qualify for the FIRST Championship. Teams can also qualify for the world championship in other ways at competitions – winning the Chairman’s Award, Engineering Inspiration Award, Rookie All-Star Award or receiving a wild card.

Competitions run based on a schedule of randomly created qualification rounds where two different alliances of three robots play against each other. One alliance is the red alliance and the other is the blue alliance. Depending on the alliance, robots use protective, colored bumpers accordingly.

Every match begins with a fully autonomous period. The robot runs based on code written by a programmer. After this period is over, the teleoperated period begins which lasts the remainder of the match. This is when the drive team takes control.

After qualification rounds end, alliance selections begin - the top eight ranked teams choose their alliance partners for elimination rounds.

Scouting is a large part of FRC competitions. Former alumnus and head scouter, Derek Yingling, gave an overview of scouting and his job while on the team.

"Scouting is a job where you watch all the teams and collect data for alliance selections. As the head scout, you interpret the data and make your alliance and team strategy," said Yingling.

The Beginning

In the fall of 2011, Harding Academy formed a FIRST robotics team under the aid of a math and physics teacher, Brian Jones. Jones was in his first year as a teacher at Harding Academy and had previously been a mentor for Team Intrepid (Team 3411) from Horn Lake, Mississippi, before he received the job to teach in Arkansas. Jones had to start from the ground up, as Harding Academy had never competed in FIRST.

Many students took interest in joining the team. Jones required each student to fill out an application and go through an interview before being on the team. Jones and the students came together and decided to name the team, Breakaway. For specificity purposes, all FRC teams are given a team number. Breakaway was given Team 3937.

Breakaway alumnus, Greyson Spears, is currently a mentor for the team. He was asked why he decided to mentor.

"I continue to feel a part of the team even though I'm an alumnus. I went to events and kept up with how the team did. I figured I could go back with the wisdom I've acquired over numerous years to help kids have the same experience as I did," said Spears.

FIRST Steamworks (2017)

FIRST Steamworks was the 2017 game released that revolved around the steampunk era. The field contained an airship for both alliances with three pegs at the bottom. Both alliances had to place gears onto the pegs, where a human player could pull gears up onto the airship. Four different rotors were at the top of the airship and could be spun when human players placed the gears side-by-side and cranked them. Spinning each rotor earned an alliance points. Robots could also shoot balls known as “fuel” into a goal called the “boiler” for points. Alliances tried to shoot enough fuel into the boiler to earn 40 kilopascals of pressure. Completing this in elimination rounds gave alliances 20 extra points. With 30 seconds left in the game, ropes were dropped from the airship where robots could scale the ropes to earn even more points.

Ranking was based on average ranking points where teams could earn 2 ranking points by winning, 1 ranking point by spinning all four rotors and 1 ranking point by reaching 40 kilopascals of pressure in the boiler.

Breakaway created an elite robot that could quickly place gears, had a dual shooter and could scale the rope in just a matter of a few seconds. The team named the robot Dreadnought after a WWI battleship that was known for its twin cannons and quick speed.

Dreadnought (2017)

2017 Arkansas Rock City Regional

Breakaway’s first event was the Arkansas Rock City Regional. The team was ready to compete at its fifth home state regional. Breakaway had one of the most competitive robots at the regional and finished qualification rounds ranked 5th. The 2nd ranked team, The S.S. Prometheus (Team 2992), selected Breakaway as its first pick. The two teams chose rookie team, Metal Eagles (Team 6640), as their third robot. The 2nd seeded alliance was set for elimination rounds.

The first quarterfinals match began, and Breakaway’s alliance started off trailing, after all three robots missing their autonomous gears. The alliance, hoping to spin all four rotors, was only able to spin three rotors by the end of the match. Only Breakaway and The S.S. Prometheus were able to scale the rope. The 2nd seeded alliance fell in their first quarterfinal match after a difficult start. The second match began, and all three teams ran on all cylinders. The alliance scored the highest score at the regional and tied the highest score in the world, at the time. Breakaway and its partners won their second match.

The teams went into the third quarterfinal match ready to score high again. The 2nd seeded alliance started off well and delivered gears with ease. However, Breakaway and Metal Eagles lost connection, and both sat still for a duration of the match. The team and its partners lost that match. The 2nd seeded alliance had a lot of promise for elimination rounds, but it ended much sooner than hoped.

2017 Bayou Regional

After missing the Bayou Regional in 2016 due to conflict with scheduling, Breakaway was excited to return. The team had won the regional twice already, and it looked for its third consecutive win.

Qualification rounds were underway, and Breakaway began to realize its schedule was the most difficult it had ever had in program history. The team performed very well in every match, but there was only so much that could be done. Breakaway ended qualification rounds ranked 39th with a record of 3-5-0. The team was confident in its performance and hoped to land in a good spot for elimination rounds. After the team had finished its last match Saturday morning, the 1st ranked team, Team Phenomena, Breakaway’s 2014 Bayou Regional partner, came to Breakaway’s pit. Team Phenomena’s lead strategist informed Jones and team mentors that they planned on selecting Breakaway as its first pick. Team Phenomena had secured 1st place by this time, so Breakaway and Team Phenomena began to collaborate on a third robot. The two teams created a list of potential robots and ranked them accordingly.

Alliance selections began and Team Phenomena selected Breakaway as the first overall selection at the Bayou Regional. As third robots began to be selected, it was soon to be the 1st seeded alliance’s turn to choose. Team Phenomena and Breakaway chose The GreenVillains (Team 281) to join their alliance. The 1st seeded alliance was set for elimination rounds.

Breakaway and its partners cruised through quarterfinals. It was in the semifinals where Breakaway met its partner at the Arkansas Rock City Regional, The S.S. Prometheus, who had an optimal gearing robot. Along with The S.S. Prometheus was another familiar team and former partner at several regionals, Wildcat Robotics. The two had picked up a great third robot and dominated quarterfinals. Breakaway knew this alliance would be a challenge. As the 1st and 4th seeded alliances clashed, Breakaway and its partners won by a large margin after playing a great round.

The S.S. Prometheus and its partners were ready to play the second match. The two alliances went head to head, both playing great offense and defense. The second match of the semifinals resulted in a tie. This was a very rare feat in elimination rounds because there were multiple tiebreakers to push the match one way or the other. However, both the 1st and 4th alliances tied in every single tiebreaker category. No fouls occurred, both had tied in autonomous, both had built up the same amount of pressure in the boiler, both alliances fully scaled the rope and so on. As semifinals ran into match three, Breakaway’s alliance was able to come out with a victory.

In the finals, Breakaway and its partners met a very versatile alliance consisting of two gearing robots and the best shooting robot at the regional. Breakaway’s alliance played on all cylinders the first match and won. The second match came and the 1st seeded alliance led coming out of autonomous. Breakaway and its partners all put gears up, however, alliance captain, Team Phenomena eventually stopped still. They had lost connection of some sort and could not move. Now, it was a two on three match. Both Breakaway and The GreenVillains fought to stay in the lead, but the opposing alliance crept closer as two robots placed gears while the third shot into the boiler. The two remaining robots on the 1st seeded alliance scaled their ropes, but all three robots on the 3rd seeded alliance did as well. The final score was up, and Breakaway and its partners lost the second match. It was again, time for a third match.

The third match began, and Team Phenomena was back. The three robots of the 1st seeded alliance ran smooth and finished strong. Breakaway and its partners won the Bayou Regional. This gave Breakaway its fourth regional win in program history and its third consecutive Bayou Regional win. Not only had the team won the Bayou Regional for the third consecutive year, but Breakaway had now won the Bayou Regional twice with Team Phenomena. The team looked forward to competing at the world championship for the fifth time in its 6 years as a program.

2017 FIRST Championship

The 2017 FIRST Championship had a little twist compared to previous world championships. Due to the number of teams now competing in FIRST and the number of teams that are able to qualify for the world championship, the 2017 FIRST Championship was split, one championship in the traditional St. Louis location and the other in Houston. Teams were regionalized to one of the two, unless they had Hall of Fame status and could choose which one to attend, or they opted out their spot at one championship to sign up for the other. Breakaway was regionalized for Houston.

Breakaway at the 2017 FIRST Championship in Houston

Yingling helped the team this year and attended the 2017 FIRST Championship in Houston.

"This year, the FIRST Championship was more like a big regional but was still cool being able to hear all the different languages spoken throughout the pits and seeing how the common thing can connect people," said Yingling.

Both in Houston and St. Louis, the 2017 FIRST Championship consisted of six divisions. Breakaway was one of 67 teams in the Turing Division. Along with Breakaway were Bomb Squad, Full Metal Jackets (Team 1296), MadTown Robotics (Team 1323) and some of the best teams in the Pacific Northwest. The team traveled down to Houston on Tuesday, April 18. Practice rounds began the following day, and qualification rounds began Thursday.

As qualification rounds began, Breakaway began strong as ever, ranked 1st after its two rounds. Matches continue and Breakaway faced several difficult alliances. The team fell in the rankings, even though it hadn’t lessened its performance. Qualifications ended early Friday evening and Breakaway finished 35th in the rankings with a record of 5-5-0. Similar to the Bayou Regional, Breakaway’s ranking was well behind its performance. The top three ranked teams were Full Metal Jackets ranked 1st, Bomb Squad ranked 2nd, and Issaquah Robotics Society (Team 1318) ranked 3rd.

Alliance selections began Saturday morning and Full Metal Jackets selected MadTown Robotics, a team that had a very proven shooter and could place gears very well. Bomb Squad, who had honed in its shooter, chose Breakaway, who had shown versatility all throughout qualifications. Issaquah Robotics Society picked Bear Metal (Team 2046) on its way to create an all-PNW alliance. As alliance selections came to a close, Bomb Squad and Breakaway had selected FHS Robodawgs (Team 2221) and NRG (Team 948).

The 2nd seeded alliance began its first quarterfinal match in the Turing Division, and it was a good one. Bomb Squad, Breakaway, and FHS Robodawgs dominated the match. Bomb Squad shot a large amount of fuel into the boiler, and Breakaway and FHS Robodawgs looked solid placing gears on the airship. The alliance had the highest score in the Turing Division that would never be outscored and one of the top scores in all six divisions. The second quarterfinal came and Breakaway and its partners won again. The 2nd seeded alliance looked like the strongest alliance in the division after the quarterfinals. Breakaway was confident in its alliance’s ability to win the Turing Division, but it would be a challenge. The winner of each division would make it to Einstein Field, where a round robin of all divisions was played and eventually, the championship finals.

The 2nd seeded alliance faced the all-PNW 3rd seeded alliance in the semifinals. Breakaway and its partners looked strong, even though connection on the field failed at times. Breakaway’s alliance won the first semifinals match. The second match began, but this time, the connection of the 2nd seeded alliance decreased and disappeared at times. Breakaway and its partners lost the second match. The two alliances played a third match. In this match, Breakaway and FHS Robodawgs struggled to stay connected to the field. With a connection that dropped all throughout the match, the 2nd seeded alliance lost again. This was difficult for the alliance to soak in because it was a very unfortunate situation. Knowing their own abilities and watching them fail to field connection, the 2nd seeded alliance was eliminated.

This was the end of Breakaway’s 2017 season. This year had brought a multitude of things – struggles, successes, friendships, excitement, sadness and growth. Though the 2017 season was over, Breakaway had accomplished incredible things.

Rebound Rumble (2012)

Once the next semester rolled around, the 2012 FRC season began. This competition was called Rebound Rumble, a game devised where robots were to shoot basketballs into hoops ranging from 1-3 points, as well as balance on bridges for end-game bonuses. All teams were given roughly six weeks to build their robot. Breakaway created a turreted robot named Genesis – 2012 being “the beginning.”

Genesis (2012)

2012 Bayou Regional

Breakaway attended the Bayou Regional in Kenner, Louisiana. The team finished qualification rounds ranked 5th overall and competed in elimination rounds, however, the team lost in the quarterfinals. Breakaway was awarded the Highest Rookie Seed Award and the Rookie All-Star Award that qualified the team for the 2012 FIRST Championship in St. Louis.

2012 Oklahoma Regional

Breakaway later competed at the Oklahoma Regional in Oklahoma City. The team did not compete in elimination rounds but was awarded the Rookie Inspiration Award. Breakaway awaited the world championship as this regional came to a close.

2012 FIRST Championship

The 2012 FIRST Championship, held at the Edward Jones Dome, consisted of four different divisions, each with 100 teams. Breakaway competed in the Newton Division at the world championship. This was an amazing experience for the team as there were so many incredible teams competing. Though Breakaway did not make it into elimination rounds, the team was able to watch fellow Arkansas and Hall of Fame team, Bomb Squad (Team 16), win the 2012 FIRST Championship.

Ultimate Ascent (2013)

The 2013 FRC season was called Ultimate Ascent. This game involved shooting Frisbees into goals and scaling three different levels of a pyramid for extra points. 2013 was an experimenting year for Breakaway. Now as a two-year team, Breakaway began refining the team’s build efforts and created its very first swerve drive. Swerve is a driving system where a robot can drive any direction with its chassis still facing the same way. Swerve can provide many benefits such as agility and mobility, though it can add weight and complexity to the robot. Breakaway’s swerve-driving robot was named Entropy.

Entropy (2013)

2013 Bayou Regional

Breakaway competed again at the Bayou Regional. The team was ranked 15th and competed in elimination rounds. Breakaway lost in the quarterfinals to the eventual Bayou Regional winners, led by world renowned powerhouse, Robonauts (Team 118).

2013 Razorback Regional

2013 was a ground-breaking year for FIRST in Arkansas. The Razorback Regional, the first ever Arkansas regional, was held in Fayetteville, Arkansas. Teams from multiple states attended this regional. Breakaway built a new Frisbee feeding system that gave the team success, although Breakaway was eliminated in the quarterfinals and experienced several problems with its swerve drive. Texas Torque (Team 1477), won the Razorback Regional and went on to win the 2013 FIRST Championship in St. Louis.

Aerial Assist (2014)

Aerial Assist was a very unique game. The object to this game was to assist your teammates with a two-foot diameter exercise ball and shoot the ball through a goal. Breakaway created a robot with a claw-shaped mechanism that could grab the ball and fire it over defenders. The team respectively named the robot, The Claw.

The Claw (2014)

2014 was the first season Breakaway created a practice robot along with its competition robot. The team was able to use this practice robot to work on programming, testing and practicing while its refined replica was bagged up for competition use only. This gave the Breakaway drive team the ability to better prepare for competition. Breakaway decided not to use swerve drive this year, as there were no obstructive field elements unlike the previous year. Instead, the team chose a six-wheel drivetrain.

2014 Arkansas Regional

The former Razorback Regional, changed to the Arkansas Regional, moved to a new location – Harding University. Breakaway hosted the 2014 Arkansas Regional in the Ganus Athletic Center. 39 teams attended from 10 different states. By the end of qualification rounds, Breakaway was ranked 10th. The 1st seed, Bomb Squad, selected Breakaway to join its alliance for elimination rounds. The two teams then selected RoboHounds (Team 4500), to join their alliance.

The 1st seeded alliance moved through elimination rounds and made it to the finals where they met their toughest matchup yet, the 3rd seeded alliance, led by Team SCREAM (Team 4522). After three matches, the 1st seeded alliance won, giving Breakaway its first regional victory in the program’s history. Jones, Breakaway’s director, won Volunteer of the Year, and the team also won the Industrial Design Award sponsored by General Motors and the Industrial Safety Award sponsored by Underwriters Laboratory.

2014 Bayou Regional

Breakaway qualified for the world championship after its win at the Arkansas Regional, but the team was ready to compete at the Bayou Regional once again. After a great performance in qualifications, Breakaway was ranked 5th. The 2nd seed, Team Fusion (Team 364), selected Breakaway. The two teams selected Team Phenomena (Team 3616) as their next pick.

The 2nd seeded alliance swept through elimination rounds including the finals. This regional win gave Breakaway its second on the season and first Bayou Regional win in the program’s history. Breakaway also won the Quality Award sponsored by Motorola.

Spears, who was the driver in 2014, was asked how it felt winning both regionals.

"It felt amazing! It was awesome to know you had worked hard on something for so long and for that robot to be appreciated not just by yourself but by others when we won," said Spears.

2014 FIRST Championship

With two regional wins, Breakaway was one of the top teams in the world coming to the world championship. The team received word that it would be competing in the Galileo Division. Aerial Assist was a very physical game, with numerous collisions happening each match. During qualification rounds, The Claw suffered damage from several collisions including a head on collision that bent much of the claw mechanism. For several matches, Breakaway would compete with a robot that did not function properly. The team finally fixed the damage, and Breakaway finished strong. However, it was not enough to make it into elimination rounds. 2014 was Breakaway’s most successful season yet as the team looked forward into the next season.

Recycle Rush (2015)

Following a season with a completely new aspect of the game, Recycle Rush had its own uniqueness. Recycle Rush was an offense-only game. The objective was to create stacks of up to six totes with a recycle bin on top of each stack. Designated areas were set out for teams to place their stacks in order to earn points. Teams could place a pool noodle known as “litter” in the recycle bin for bonus. Qualification ranking was not normal this year. Teams were not ranked by their record or any set of ranking points. They were ranked by their average match score. This made competitions interesting as match points became more important than wins and losses.

Quarterfinals and semifinals were round robin and based on average match points just like qualification rounds were. The top four quarterfinal averages moved on to the semifinals, and the top two semifinal averages moved on to the finals. The finals were then based on wins.

Breakaway created a robot that could make the stacks easily. Because the robot would be lifting objects the entire game, the team thought it would be appropriate to name it, Samson.

Samson (2015)

2015 Arkansas Rock City Regional

With renovations in the Ganus Athletic Center, Breakaway could not host the Arkansas Regional again. It was moved to Barton Coliseum in Little Rock, Arkansas and was renamed the Arkansas Rock City Regional. The regional still holds the same name and location since 2015.

Breakaway competed at the Arkansas Rock City Regional and finished qualification rounds ranked 14th, lower than hoped. The team paired up with Arkansas team, GearHogs (Team 3612), and Purple Haze (Team 418) from Texas. Breakaway could not repeat its 2014 home state win as the alliance did not make the top four average match scores and were eliminated in the quarterfinals. The top seeded alliance, led by Illinois powers, Roboteers (Team 2481) and PWNAGE (Team 2451), won the regional.

2015 Bayou Regional

Looking to repeat its 2014 Bayou Regional win, Breakaway traveled down to Louisiana in hopes to qualify for the world championship again. With improvement since Arkansas, Breakaway was ranked 2nd overall heading into alliance selections. The 1st seeded team, Ninjaneers (Team 2383), selected fellow Florida team, The Children of the Swamp (Team 179), as their first pick. Breakaway chose 10th ranked Wildcat Robotics (Team 3039) as its first pick. Based on scouting data and careful watching of matches, the team knew this would be an excellent pick. Breakaway and Wildcat Robotics chose 42nd ranked Tiger Robotics (Team 3946) to complete the 2nd seeded alliance.

Breakaway’s alliance moved through the quarterfinals with the highest average match score. The 2nd seeded alliance also had the highest average match score in the semifinals. Breakaway was confident in its alliance’s ability to win the regional but knew the finals would be difficult against a strong all-Mississippi alliance including the team’s 2014 Bayou Regional partner, Fusion. The finals were very competitive, but the 2nd seeded alliance was able to win, giving Breakaway its second Bayou Regional win. Breakaway had now won the Bayou Regional back-to-back, and the team was qualified for the world championship for the third time in its 4-year history. The team also won the Creativity Award sponsored by Xerox.

2015 FIRST Championship

The 2015 FIRST Championship was the first world championship to have eight different divisions instead of the traditional four. Breakaway was put in the Curie Division. The team competed with and against some incredible teams. After qualification rounds, Breakaway was ranked 14th. The team fell further in alliance selections than planned but was grabbed by the 4th seeded alliance. Breakaway’s alliance was eliminated in the quarterfinals, marking the end of the 2015 season.

FIRST Stronghold (2016)

The 2016 season brought a new aspect to FIRST – it was the first game with a theme. FIRST Stronghold had a medieval theme where teams were to cross a variety of defenses, shoot balls into a castle and siege the castle by hanging at the end of the match. Teams were ranked based on total ranking points, earning 2 points for winning, 1 point for maneuvering over defenses enough times and 1 point for shooting enough balls into the castle.

Breakaway designed its own custom tank drivetrain to allow easy maneuverability over the defenses. The team also created a mini-claw, similar to The Claw. Breakaway named this season’s robot, Freedom.

Freedom (2016)

2016 Arkansas Rock City Regional

Breakaway began its season at the Arkansas Rock City Regional. Freedom competed at a high level at the regional and finished qualification rounds ranked 3rd. The team chose its 2015 Bayou Regional partner, Wildcat Robotics to join its alliance. The two chose Red Nation Robotics (Team 4576) to join their alliance. As the 2nd seeded alliance, Breakaway and its partners moved through elimination rounds, making it to the finals. Ahead, they faced 1st seeded Bomb Squad and Blackhawk Robotics (Team 3310), two teams that showed they had the capability of winning the regional. Unfortunately for Breakaway, the opposing alliance won in the finals.

Though the team lost, Breakaway was given a wild card for the world championship because Bomb Squad had already qualified for the world championship, being a Hall of Fame team for their Chairman’s Award win at the 2000 FIRST Championship. That’s right – winning the Chairman’s Award at the world championship qualifies you for the world championship for life and gives you Hall of Fame status. Director Brian Jones won the Woodie Flowers Finalist Award at the regional.

Brian Jones wins Woodie Flowers Finalist Award

2016 Smoky Mountains Regional

Traditionally, Breakaway attended the Bayou Regional. However, in 2016, Breakaway did not attend the Bayou Regional because it was scheduled back-to-back weeks with the Arkansas Rock City Regional. Though the team did not want to miss it, they knew it would be best so students could have time to make up work missed in classes. Instead, the team chose to attend the Smoky Mountains Regional in Knoxville, Tennessee.

This was an unfamiliar regional to Breakaway, but the team ended up ranked 5th going into alliance selections. The team chose The Ravonics Revolution (Team 1710) to join its alliance. Breakaway then chose Red Nation Robotics, its partner at the Arkansas Rock City Regional to cap off its alliance. The 3rd seeded alliance headed into elimination rounds. Breakaway and its partners, however, fell short in the quarterfinals, not scoring as high as they had planned. The Smoky Mountain Regional was not the end for Breakaway, as the team had the world championship in view.

2016 FIRST Championship

For the second time, Breakaway was put in the Newton Division at the world championship. The Newton Division this year was stacked, consisting of some of the best teams in the world. Some of these teams were defending world champion, Robonauts, who had three regional wins; Hall of Fame team, The Cheesy Poofs (Team 254), who had one of the most dangerous robots in the world due to its vision tracking abilities and accurate turret; Hall of Fame team, The HOT Team (Team 67), who had three district wins; Hall of Fame team, Bomb Squad, who had one of the cleanest drivetrains in the world; Canada great, Theory6 (Team 1241), who had one of the most consistent shooters in the world; and New England power, Mechanical Mayhem (Team 1519), who had pulled in three district wins.

Freedom at the 2016 FIRST World Championship in St. Louis

Competition was underway, and Breakaway started off strong going 3-1-0 in qualification rounds. However, the team fell in the rankings, going 2-4-0 in its next six rounds. Going into alliance selections, the team was ranked 34th but had performed well enough to be selected. The Children of the Swamp and Average Joes (Team 3620) chose Breakaway to join their alliance. The three teams then chose Hyperion (Team 3360) as their substitutable robot.

Breakaway’s alliance performed well and won the quarterfinals against a competitive 6th seeded alliance. The alliance’s next obstacle was to face the 1st seeded alliance, led by Theory6 and The Cheesy Poofs. This was an alliance that could easily outshoot its opponents when all three teams were playing well. Breakaway’s alliance experienced several robot issues and lost to their opponents in the first match. Breakaway was not able to intake balls and fire them, and Average Joes did not move much of the match. Breakaway was forced to play defense while The Children of the Swamp were left to score shots. As the second round inched near, Average Joes were ready to give it another run, but Breakaway was not able to fully fix its problem in time, leaving Hyperion to fill in.

Again, the 1st seeded alliance outscored the 3rd seeded alliance, however, the ending result was different. Due to receiving its second yellow card in elimination rounds, the 1st seeded alliance was given a red card, disqualifying them for that match. This resulted in Breakaway’s alliance winning the second match. With a third match upcoming, Breakaway did its best to make it into the match, but the robot still experienced issues. With a robot not fully functioning, it was best Hyperion fill in again. Unfortunately, the 3rd seeded alliance lost, sending a very dangerous alliance into the finals.

Though Breakaway’s season had come to an end in St. Louis, FIRST Stronghold was another successful run for the team. Breakaway had competed in elimination rounds at the world championship for the second consecutive season. After capping off its fifth season, Breakaway was ready for what 2017 had in store.

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