It was a weekend of ups and downs for the Halifax County robotics team at the FIRST Chesapeake District Championship in Fairfax, but it was winning an engineering award that gave them the boost they needed to land a spot in the world championship.

After ranking 18th in the entire district of 126 teams and taking home the excellence in engineering award sponsored by Delphi, the Comebots were invited to the world championship.

The Comebots had experienced some success in their qualifying matches before their quarterfinal matches, that landed them fifth out of the teams that were competing at the district meet.

But then, a bit of the Comebots’ spirit was dampened when they were defeated in two quarterfinal matches after winning the first.

They lost their second quarterfinal match and the tiebreaker match, which squashed any hope of making it to the playoffs at that district meet.

“It was kind of up and down. It was disappointing. We were hoping to make it to the finals. From what we saw, we needed to make it to the semi-finals to get to the world championship, but that award gave us the bump that we needed,” said Cometbots robotics instructor Adam Reeves.

He called it an exciting year and “the best we’ve ever done.”

Now that they’ve hurdled past the district competitions, they’re gearing up for the second year in a row to head to the world championship in Detroit, Michigan, next week from April 24 to 27.

Superintendent Dr. Mark Lineburg is looking forward to being able to continue watching them compete.

He called the Comebots the “underdog” when speaking about the recent competition saying most teams have sponsors like NASA, but he said the Cometbots taking home the engineering award is a “testament to our students.

“It’s been a real treat to watch, and we’re fired up to go to Detroit. They’ve built a great robot, and we’re real pleased with them,” said Lineburg.

He also took the time to point out the robotics team is only one of many Halifax teams that are striving for success with the Future Farmers of America and Future and Family, Career and Community Leaders of America also competing well.

“Our students are capable of anything,” said Lineburg.

The robotics instructor also said the robotics team has continued to improve yearly, and now he’d like to reach out to students in elementary schools and in the community to help instill an interest at a younger age.

“We want to be an inspiration for kids,” said Reeves.

Follow the “Team 977 Comebots” Facebook page for updates on the competition, fundraiser opportunities and more.

Ashley Hodge reports for The Gazette-Virginian. Contact her at ahodge@gazettevirginian.com

Ashley Hodge is a staff writer for The Gazette-Virginian. Contact her at ahodge@gazettevirginian.com