2017: Off-Season Summary

As we look forward to the Kickoff of the 2018 season, let’s spend one last 2017 post on a summary of the 2017 off-season activities.  In addition to the Mayhem in Merrimack off-season competition, our team kept up the momentum through more off-season competitions (River Rage and Battle of the Bay), training meetings, mentorship of younger students, and robot demonstrations.

Beginning in May, not long after our return from the World Championship, students well-versed in CAD trained rookies and other students using CAD classes followed by a design project to create robots to use for demonstrations in the future.

In June, we enjoyed showing off our robot to people of all ages at the Rock’n Ribfest in Merrimack, and we also cleared tables in the food tents. For the fourth consecutive year, we co-hosted a FIRST LEGO® League (FLL®) Summer Camp for a week in August.

Robot demonstrations for our sponsors included Rockwell Automation’s Engineering Day, Burk Technology’s summer party, and Cirtronics’ Mfg Day.

In September, we demonstrated our robot in collaboration with other FIRST teams at the RoboExpo in the Pheasant Lane Mall.

This past fall, we continued training at bi-weekly meetings, mentored two FLL teams, continued our technology project for the Nashua Police Department, and beta tested the 2018 control system for FIRST.

In December, we collaborated with FRC Teams 1786, 1729, and 6731 at a workshop on Scrum to learn about this innovative management approach.

Our 2017 off-season full of serving, training, and leading shows MAYHEM’s commitment to building people, not just robots!

2017: Mayhem in Merrimack

In the very first match of the first off-season competition, our robot Blaise’n 40 lived up to its name, scoring exactly 40 fuel in the boiler during the 15-second autonomous period!


What an exciting start to a busy, fun, success-filled day for Mechanical Mayhem with two new drive teams running two robots in the competition!


Our team was invited by the tournament hosts, FRC Team 166 Chop Shop, to participate in a panel presentation on how to build a strong Chairman’s Award team.  

MAYHEMers Ashley and Elizabeth represented 1519 and enjoyed the opportunity to collaborate with other FRC teams.


During the elimination matches 1519’s competition robot was chosen by Team 1058 with Team 6328 rounding out the alliance, while 1519’s practice robot was chosen by Team 238 who then chose Team 1729.


After some thrilling matches, the alliance of 1058, 1519, and 6328 prevailed as Mayhem in Merrimack winners! In addition, the team won the Cotton-Eyed Joe award!


2017: World Championship

At the 2017 FIRST World Championship in St. Louis, nearly 700 teams (15,000 students) from 33 countries competed in the four FIRST programs.  This is the first year of two world championships, one in Houston and one in St. Louis, taking place on consecutive weekends. Next year the northern World Championship will move from St. Louis to Detroit, so experiencing our last championship in St. Louis was bittersweet!

A Frisbee break during the long coach bus trip to St. Louis.

On Tuesday, April 25, twenty-five Mechanical Mayhem students, mentors, and family members boarded a coach bus in Nashua, NH.  Of these twenty-five people, five were also participating with the NH Champion FIRST LEGO League (FLL) team Wisdom Hunters which was mentored by MAYHEM team members and qualified for the World Championship by winning the top award at the 2016 FLL NH State Tournament in December.

After a short drive to Ayer, MA, our coach bus picked up our friends Andromeda One (FRC #4905) with whom we traveled to St. Louis in 2014 and 2016 as well.  Five additional MAYHEM parents and mentors met us in St. Louis, after traveling by plane or car.

Wednesday night in the pit after the through-the-night trip from NH to St. Louis

When the coach bus arrived in St. Louis on Wednesday, team members headed in several directions to maximize the fun and productivity.  While the pit crew loaded in all the pit materials and uncrated the robot, another group enjoyed the ride up the Gateway Arch. Some folks also visited the Innovation Faire or attended some FIRST Robotics Conference talks.  Over several days students and chaperones attended talks on the following topics: women in STEM, training student leaders, artificial intelligence, scouting, and sensors.

Pizza dinner at America’s Center on Wednesday night (the first of many meals supplied by Altium)!

On Thursday, the official FRC matches on all six division fields began.  We competed in the Tesla division with 67 other teams from across the northern US, Canada, and Netherlands. When qualification matches finished, we ranked 9th in our division.  Amazingly, of the 114 qualification matches in the Tesla Division, only two matches had an alliance which achieved the maximum of four ranking points in the match, and our team was on the winning alliance in both of those matches!

During alliance selection on Saturday morning, Mechanical Mayhem was chosen by the 2nd ranked team, Digital Goats (829) from Indianapolis, IN, for the elimination rounds. The X-Cats (191) from Rochester, NY, and the Hackbots (3414) from Farmington, MI, rounded out the alliance. After a strong win for our first quarterfinal match, our alliance lost the next two matches, ending our official FIRST season for 2017.  We were honored to receive team-made awards from Crevolution (2851), Team Rembrandts (4481) from Netherlands, and Ratchet Rockers (1706)! (See photo.)

Awards for 1519 from other teams

Congratulations to senior Sean Moushegian who won Mentor of the Year at the FLL World Festival for mentoring the Wisdom Hunters FLL team and assisting many other FIRST teams!

Our four seniors (Sean, Andy, Will & Nick) will be greatly missed!  All four are making us proud by planning to continue their education in STEM at college!

Representatives from the Rockwell Automation sponsored teams at Championship. Thanks, Rockwell Automation!

2017: New England District Championship Event

On April 5-8 at the University of New Hampshire in Durham, NH, Mechanical Mayhem excitedly competed in the New England District Championship with our robot, Blaise’n 40.


Although the first day had a rather rough beginning, Mechanical Mayhem gathered itself up and began to steam ahead, achieving the qualification ranking of 15th on the second day of matches. However, Blaise’n 40’s and Mayhem’s success did not end there.


The alliance selection was a very exciting event for all of the teams. The third ranked team 3719, the STEM Whalers, invited Mechanical Mayhem to join their alliance, and thanks to the detailed data provided by our steadfast scouts who analyzed every robot throughout the 128 matches, the third seeded alliance selected team 5813, Morpheus, who graciously accepted.


Although our alliance initially faced a challenging quarter-final match against the sixth ranked alliance and lost the first match, our alliance battled back in two very intense matches to proceed to the semi-finals. Although the semifinal scores were very close and our alliance again lost the first match, we then won two consecutive times, moving us up into the finals matches. Even though we tried our hardest, we were defeated by the first ranked alliance — congratulations to teams 2168, the Aluminum Falcons; 195, the CyberKnights; and 1073, The Force Team! You earned it!


Mechanical Mayhem, the STEM Whalers, and Morpheus did not let this defeat bring them down, but held their heads up high as they walked down the stairs to the floor of the arena to graciously receive their Championship Finalists Awards. We were all proud of what we accomplished together as an alliance and of what our respective robots achieved. It was a pleasure to work with 3719 and 5813.


At the completion of the New England Championship, the New England teams were ranked based on points accumulated at their district events and the championship.  Mechanical Mayhem ranked 3rd of 194 in New England!


2017: Pine Tree NE District Event

Mechanical Mayhem had a wonderful experience at the Pine Tree District Event on March 30-April 1! We enjoyed playing the game with many Maine teams as well as teams from around New England. After ranking first for much of the competition, a couple match losses landed us as the sixth seed by the end of qualification matches. During alliance selection for the elimination round on Saturday, we were chosen by the first seed, Team 2648 Infinite Loop, who also picked Team 4906 The Collective to round out our alliance. This alliance went undefeated in the elimination round and won the competition! In addition, our team won the top judged award, the Chairman’s Award, and will go on to be one of the ten Chairman’s Award winning teams from New England competing for one of the four Chairman’s Awards given at the New England District Championship this weekend. Also, one of our students, Faith, was one of two students from the Pine Tree District chosen to compete for the Dean’s List Award at the New England District Championship at which six of the 20 students chosen at district events will be named Dean’s List Finalists.

If you have time, please check out our Chairman’s Award video created by students as part of the Chairman’s Award submission, as well as a highlights video of the team at the Pine Tree District created by Mechanical Mayhem alumnus David Jennings.

The team is now in the midst of the New England District Championship at the University of New Hampshire in Durham, NH. Going into the last day of competition, Mechanical Mayhem is ranked 10 of 64 of the top FIRST Robotics teams in New England! With two more qualification matches this morning, Mayhem hopes to play in the elimination round this afternoon.

2017: Worcester Polytechnic Institute NE District Event

On March 8-10 at Worcester Polytechnic Institute’s Harrington Auditorium, Mechanical MAYHEM enthusiastically competed for the first time with our 2017 robot: Blaise’n 40.

On the first day of competition, Blaise’n 40 stole the show while maintaining an undefeated winning streak of 8-0.  Routinely winning with 250 points on the board, Blaise’n 40 earned the second-seed position at the end of the qualification matches on Friday.  A playlist of all of our WPI matches is available on our YouTube channel.

Due to the hard work of our diligent scouts, MAYHEM picked two incredible robots during alliance selection: Teams 190 (Gompei and the H.E.R.D. from Worcester, MA) and 1740 (Ledyard Cyber Colonials from Ledyard, CT).  Each of these three robots complemented the abilities of the others, resulting in an extremely effective alliance.

Despite a setback in the first elimination match, this alliance breezed through both the quarterfinals and semifinals, earning a position in the finals.  After three hard-fought matches, MAYHEM, 190 and 1740 applauded the first-seeded alliance as the district event winner (Congratulations to 3623, TerrorBots; 2370, IBOTS; and 1991, the Dragons)!

Autonomous Scoring

MAYHEM was honored to receive the Excellence in Engineering Award sponsored by Delphi!  The judges said this about our robot, “Short and sweet, this team’s robot scored!  They flat-out excelled in ALL phases of the competition.  Additionally, they were impressive with their ability to articulate the conception, design, engineering and construction of their spectacular control system, including a smart dashboard, a dual-cam agitator, and their ‘H-Module’ which provided for better driving control.” It’s affirming to receive such positive feedback from the judges after all of the long hours and late nights Blaise’n 40 spent under development.  Furthermore, MAYHEM would like to congratulate our friends from Team 4905 Andromeda One on their Chairman’s Award win.

MAYHEM will compete at the Pine Tree District Event on March 30 – April 1, in Lewiston, ME.  Follow our performance on the Blue Alliance.

Would you consider supporting our team as we ramp up our efforts?  Please visit our sponsor page or sign up for our newsletter to learn more.  Your generosity is sincerely appreciated.

Sponsor logos displayed above our pit at the WPI District.

2017: Introducing Blaise’n 40

Last night our 2017 robot named “Blaise’n 40” was bagged at 11:55pm on Stop Build Day! Blaise‘n 40 is named after Blaise Pascal and the 40 kiloPascals needed for a ranking point which we aim to complete with 40 high goal shots in the autonomous period.

We look forward playing the FIRST STEAMworks game with many great New England teams at our two district events: WPI District on March 8-10 in Worcester, MA, and Pine Tree District on March 30-April 1 in Lewiston, ME. The competitions are free and open to the public, so check out these tournaments and witness the thrill of FIRST Robotics Competition!

2017: Digital Animation Submitted

A couple days ago, Mechanical Mayhem’s animation subteam submitted the team’s digital animation award entry.  The countless hours they invested shine through in this award entry with great animation as well as a powerful theme summarized in the Albert Einstein quote near the end: “There is a driving force more powerful than steam, electricity and nuclear power: the will.” That’s a great reminder to FIRST Robotics teams around the world who have less than three weeks remaining until Stop Build Day on February 21!

Congratulations, student animators, on a phenomenal animation with no technical mentoring from adults!

Take a minute (literally) to watch Team 1519’s Digital Animation Award Entry.



2017: Mid-Build Season Update

While various subteams have been busy designing, prototyping and building their parts of the robot (drive base, fuel acquisition & scoring, gear acquisition & scoring, climber), the students on the media team put together a short video illustrating what an incredible impact sponsors who support FIRST Robotics teams like ours have on their community.  Enjoy our Fundraising Video 2017!

Mechanical Mayhem looks forward to running our robot on a real field with other FRC teams on February 18 (the last Saturday before Stop Build Day) at the Week Zero Scrimmage hosted by FRC Team 811 at Bishop Guertin High School in Nashua.

2017: FRC Game Announcement

On January 7, the 2017 Mechanical Mayhem team excitedly piled into a crowded basement, awaiting the unveiling of the 2017 FIRST STEAMWORKS game!

Robots climb up dangling ropes!?! 600 game pieces and 16 moving parts!?! Human Players are allowed on-field DURING the match!?!?!

As the team got right to work strategizing, analyzing, and discussing the new game, a delegation of students toured a live field at the FIRST Live Kickoff in Manchester, NH.  Measuring field elements, talking with game designers, and assessing field visibility, this delegation began beaming with ideas — thereby blending right in upon arriving back at Mayhem Central!

This year is host to some interesting rules. The robot volume may not exceed 12 cubic feet, and the robot may never extend beyond its bumpers. Additionally, teams are encouraged to bring a custom rope to the playing field — one that complements a robot’s climbing mechanism.

Mayhem welcomes ten rookie students this year! It’s encouraging to see the varied interests among the new recruits. If their performance in safety/shop training, CAD workshops, and kickoff day reflects their abilities, then these new students will accomplish amazing things in the future! These rookies will sustain the team in years to come, and so the older veterans are naturally eager to bring them up to speed on all that goes into a well-run FRC season.

The team is scheduled to compete in the following tournaments: Week Zero Scrimmage (February 18, Nashua, NH), WPI District Event (March 8-10, Worcester, MA), and Pine Tree District Event (March 30 – April 1, Lewiston, ME). If the team is fortunate enough to qualify, it will compete in the New England District Championship (April 5-8, Durham, NH) and the World Championship (April 26-29, St. Louis, MO).

Beat the pack! Be one of our first sponsors for the 2017 season! Mechanical Mayhem FIRST Robotics team is changing lives by exposing high schoolers to the wonders of Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM). But wait: donate now and we’ll double the offer! You’ll support TWO life-changing programs (Mechanical Mayhem AND Mindstorms Mayhem) with just one donation! Your generosity is sincerely appreciated (no joke).