John Burroughs robotics team returns to world competition

This story originally appeared on RealTime/STL.

You know what they say: There are no second chances. But for the John Burroughs School robotics team, on Thursday there was: Technical difficulty with another team’s robot meant they had a second chance in the FIRST Robotics Competition qualification match at the Edward Jones Dome.

This is the second time the 4-year-old team, known as the Bombers, has made it to world competition level.

“When it started, it was basically four of us, sitting around,” said team member Spencer Hesse. “We had the know-how but we didn’t have the manpower or the equipment.”

When the Bombers took the field again Thursday night, the team was confident and their boxy blue bot was ready.

Robotics competitions are team efforts. There’s the team you know — the kids you’ve worked with to build a robot — and the team you don’t. Four teams compete, forming a blue alliance and a red alliance. In this match, the Bombers and the Siberian Beast, from Irkutsk, Russia, formed the blue alliance.

The red alliance won.

After the match, the Bombers said a language barrier played a roll in the loss, their only one at the competition. The Russian team also seemed discouraged.

“There was a little bit of miscommunication between the two teams,” said Bomber Eddie Ko. “Nothing we can’t solve.”

The team returns to competition Friday morning.

“I’m going to brush up on my Russian,” said Ryan Thornton. He may not have been kidding.