I would first like to say, this is a personal project of mine, and by no means completely comprehensive. If anyone has data to share, please do! I will make edits with more teams covered.
Farmington/Farmington Hills is a region in Oakland County Michigan. During FIRST’s history, this area has given birth to 5-6 FRC teams, however not all these teams are remembered. We want to give recognition to these teams and bring their history back.
Team 139/162 (1997 Toroid Terror)
The history of FRC teams in the area dates back to 1997 or Toroid Terror. This is when Team 162 (139) was formed on January 9, 1997, at 5 p.m… The team was named TRW and Harrison High School, or for short, TRW RoboHawks. The name generally varies in these years due to the naming scheme being based around companies, and team names being a list of sponsors, so the name could be Robo-Hawks, Robo Hawk, or variations of it. The team was based out of the now defunct Harrison High School from Farmington, Michigan, and its primary sponsor was TRW Automotive, where the meetings were held. According to an archived version of Team 308 Monsters website, the team had around 57 members, 27 of whom were TRW employees, 8 being school staff, and 22 students. The team competed at two events in 1997, first they competed at the Motorola Midwest Regional at Harper College Palatine Illinois from March 6th, to March 8th as a week 1 competition. They competed against 27 other teams, including Rush, Killer Bees, Chief Delphi, HOT, Hammond, and RoboWranglers. Only one match that they played in can be confirmed, that match number is unknown, but they competed against 54 Haworth Inc & Holland High School and 74 St. Louis Community & Mary Institute and Saint Louis Country Day School (Team CHAOS). After the competition, they won the Rookie All-Star Award, beating robots such as HOT and Rush. They also won the Judges Award alongside 24 (Crusaders 2020) and 302 (Dragons).
1997 Motorola Midwest Reg - YouTube (13:08)(21:40)(22:50)
After this competition, they moved on to compete at the National Championships in Walt Disney World’s Epcot Center from April 10th through April 12th. No matches that they played in are known. There exists very little evidence that the team competed or was present, however there exists a banner image from the pit, and video of the team and the shirt design.
1997 FIRST Robotics ESPN Highlight Reel - YouTube (18:40)
1997 FIRST Robotics Epcot Wrap Video - YouTube (Team)(1:42)(1:54)(1:56)(2:41)(3:10)(3:16)
Additionally, the team would end up winning the 1997 Rookie All-Star Award at the National level. They were one of two teams awarded this honor, the other being team 67 HOT (then numbered 47). Their “video” for an unknown award placed in the top 10, and their animation in the top 15. Despite their achievements in awards, the team would only compete in 1997. From newspaper articles from 1998, the team had planned to compete in 1998 at the Great Lakes regional from March 19 to March 21st as a week 3 competition, however there is no indication that the plan went through. Following the 1998 season, TRW moved to Walled Lake and started 308 Monsters, however some of the mentors from the RoboHawks team stayed on to help the new team. The last thing to mention is the number, the team was originally numbered 139, but during the 1997-98 downtime, new teams joined with sponsors who alphabetically came before TRW, so TRW was pushed back to 162, which it remains today, both numbers remain inactive. The number 139 would compete as Front Range Community College & Poudre School District/Fort Collins High School from Colorado in 1998. However RoboHawks would move onto other ventures such as InvenTeam, Capitol BEST Robotics and Advanced Robotics, doing quite well in them. Harrison High School would close in 2019 due to lower student populations. The building would be converted to The Hawk community center. What remains of the team are a sign noting the school as being host to the team and its award, a couple of video clips and photos, and a binder containing information relating to the teams history. The binder as of 3/19/23 has not been looked through for data. None of the physical awards given to the team are known to still exist.
Team 1481 (2004, 2006 and 2007)
Next is team 1481, or the part of the team active from 2004-2007, known as the Robo Raiders, Raiders or variations on Raider. The team was based out of North Farmington High School in Farmington Michigan and competed in 2004, 2006 and 2007. In 2004, FIRST Frenzy: Raising the Bar, they competed at the Great Lakes Regional in Ypsilanti from March 11th to March 13th as a week 2 competition, they unfortunately did not make it out of the qualifications, playing 7, with a record of 3-4-0. They would win the Autodesk Visualization Award - Regional. During the competition, team 240 would break the robots arm in quals 96 presumably. For this year, the team only comprised of around 8 members according to old Chief Delphi posts, all being male. There is no footage of the team or robot, but one image is known to exist of the robot proper. The robot however was prototyped in lego.
The team would skip the 2005 season electing to compete in OCCRA instead as team 17, getting finalist, and then compete in 2006, Aim High, where they competed at the Detroit Regional from March 16th to March 18th as a week 3 competition. There they would reach the quarterfinals as possibly the 2nd pick of the 7th alliance with teams 1504 and 1509, with 1509 alliance captains. They would lose 0-2-0 in the quarterfinals. The event finished with a record of 6-8-0. The next event they competed at was the Newton Division at the World Championships located at the Georgia Dome in Atlanta Georgia from April 12th to April 14th. All their matches were recorded, but they did not progress past qualifiers with a record of 3-5-0 and an overall record of 9-13-0.
(The most likely reason that they got to Worlds was one of two reasons, there were few enough teams that they qualified on points, or they got wildcarded into worlds.)?
They would help organize the ruleset of OCCRA that year, and seeded second. During the season, the team would be awarded Best Sportsmanship Award by Cosmos (123) at Detroit, and Innovation Award by Ravens (1188) at Atlanta (Worlds). The next and last year was 2007, Rack n’ Roll where they again competed at the Detroit Regional week 3 from March 15th to March 17th. They would rank 12th after qualifications as the 2nd round pick of the 3rd alliance with 1718 as captain and 27 as 1st round pick. They would end up in the Semifinals 2 after a 3 round quarters, losing the first match, and winning the second, but losing the next, being eliminated. Their record would be 8-7-2. They would then play their second regional, the first time doing so, at the West Michigan Regional in Allendale from March 29th to March 31st as a week 5. There they would do worse, ranking 29th with a record of 5-4-0, not making it out of qualifications, ending with a total record of 13-11-2. Their final record across all seasons was 25-28-2. Their name was only Raiders in 2004, and RoboRaiders for all their other competitions. The team also had a website, making them the first team to have one. It can be located at http://www.nfhsrobotics.org/. While the team ended for now, we will catch up with them later.
I will say, I wont be doing the later history of 3414 and 1481 until much later due to not having enough data.