The Tech Tigers' alliance is a strong one. One of its allies is a robot with a sophisticated drive train that allows it to move forward and back, then instantly move sideways. It's spectacular at harassing other robots. The alliance makes it to the final, which is a best-of-three contest. Reaching this point is a fine victory in itself, securing Atlantic Tech a place in the FIRST nationals in Atlanta, which begin April 21.
But the robot gods keep the makers of 1251 humble as they fall to the Swamp Thing alliance in the final match. Yet there's no mood of defeat. "I'm not disappointed at all," Disbury says in his aw-shucks way. "Think about it: We're only a second-year team." Indeed, there's only elation as a crowd of orange-clad Tech Tigers floods the pits a few minutes later. They've built a contender.