The Skunk Works Robotics 1983 Team – which competed at the Sammamish district event last weekend – ended up ranked 5th out of 32 teams after 64 qualification matches.

They were also the recipients of a Gracious Professionalism Award, “which was really exciting” according to Trevor Gardner.

“We’ve won other awards in our 17-year history but that was our first for Gracious Professionalism,” Gardner added. “It’s typically awarded to a team that competes hard on the field but does what it can to help other teams be at their best as well, perhaps by lending tools or knowledge.”

The team was at Bonney Lake the previous weekend, where they ended up ranked 6th out of 31 teams after 62 matches, placing 4th overall after the elimination matches. 

They also learned this week that they have qualified for the District Championships which will take place in Cheney at Eastern Washington University.

“This is a huge accomplishment for us,” Gardner said. “We are in the FRC division of FIRST so we build a robot that can weigh up to 125 lbs and we compete on fields about the size of a basketball court. The game has a different theme and challenges every year so teams have no idea what to expect when the new game is announced each January. By March, teams are competing across the world. There are 153 teams in the PNW division, which includes Washington, Oregon and Alaska.” 

This is a community team and currently they have 30 members – all 8th to 10th graders – from a dozen schools in the Puget Sound area. That’s about the average size for a team, although their had only 10 students last year.

“The pandemic made it particularly hard for us to connect with students interested in joining a team and learning about programming, CAD, marketing, wiring and part fabrication,” Gardner said. “The local news websites and blogs, including South King Media, were instrumental in helping us reach out and find new team members.”

The team meets in a workspace kindly provided by the Highline School District and will be holding an open house later in the spring for prospective new members. Interested families can email or visit


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About Skunk Works Robotics 1983 Team

Team 1983 Skunk Works Robotics is a participant with FIRST (For Inspiration and Recognition of Science Technology) program. To learn more about the team’s connection with FIRST and the impact it has on the team and its members, go to their About FIRST page. While robotics is their theme and passion, the team recognizes that FIRST calls upon them to do more than just build robots. Skunk Works has an impact on students, the school, the surrounding community and other FIRST teams.


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