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Third-Year FIRST Robotics Team Takes 2016 MBC Challenge Cup Title
Altavista Bionic Eagles Take 2016 Season by Storm

June 14, 2016 – South Boston, VA – Mid-Atlantic Broadband (MBC) is pleased to announce that the Altavista Bionic Eagles robotics team has captured the MBC Challenge Cup title for 2016.  The MBC Challenge Cup is a competition that rewards superior performance for FIRST FRC robotics teams in Southern Virginia.  Just three seasons ago, in March 2014, the Altavista Bionic Eagles robotics team stepped onto the FIRST playing field for the very first time as a rookie team. This year, under the direction of Ms. Cindy Watson, they made waves on both a regional and national level.

The Bionic Eagles competed on the district level at the Southwest Virginia Event in Blacksburg and the Central Virginia Event in Doswell.  The team received the Excellence in Engineering Award at the Blacksburg event. In Doswell, the Bionic Eagles received the Industrial Design Award and also finished as a District Event Winner, bringing gold back to Southern Virginia.  It was at this event that Altavista qualified to compete at the FIRST Chesapeake District Championship in College Park, Maryland.  In Maryland, the team was awarded the Quality Award and also qualified to advance to the FIRST World Championship in St. Louis, Missouri for the first time in the team’s short, but impressive, history.  The Bionic Eagles had a profound showing in St. Louis, finishing in the top 20 of their 75 team division.

As winners of the MBC Challenge Cup competition, the Bionic Eagles gain possession of the MBC Challenge Cup Trophy for one year.  The title normally comes with a multitude of prizes for the winning team, including an all-expense paid trip to see real-world robotics in action and a $5,000 cash prize for their school.  However, this year proved to be a little different.  This year, two MBC-sponsored teams qualified for FIRST World Championship, leaving both the Bionic Eagles and the Piedmont Governor’s School STAGS in the running for the MBC Challenge Cup title. When presented with the option, the two teams displayed the very essence of FIRST’s value of Coopertition by foregoing the prize trip and splitting the prize money so that both teams could gain the experience and honor of competing at FIRST’s most prestigious tournament.

“We are excited to announce the Altavista Bionic Eagles as champions of the 2016 MBC Challenge Cup,” said Tad Deriso, President and CEO of MBC.  “Throughout the 2016 season they displayed the desire to learn industry and life skills, apply those skills, and compete to their highest ability, ultimately earning them a berth in FIRST’s World Championship.  The Bionic Eagles have had a successful season and have represented Southern Virginia well.”

“Huge thank you to our mentors, coaches, families, friends, sponsors and community that helped make the Bionic Eagles’ season so successful,” said Cindy Watson. “Together we showed that with teamwork anything is possible.  We’re looking forward to next year’s challenge and to build on this year’s success for a repeat performance.”

MBC has invested more than $228,000 for FIRST FRC robotics programs since 2012 to help meet the workforce demands of current and future companies in the Southern Virginia region.  This year, the number of FRC robotics teams in Southern Virginia nearly doubled from six in 2015 to eleven in 2016 in an effort by MBC to bolster the STEM education opportunities for students in the region.  STEM education is a major facet that companies seek when deciding on a location for their operations, and as such, is important for the growth of our regional economy.

About Mid-Atlantic Broadband

Mid-Atlantic Broadband Communities Corporation (MBC) is a non-profit 501(c)(4) organization, committed to bridging the digital divide, promoting economic development, reducing the burdens of government and reinvesting in communities. MBC accomplishes this by operating an advanced open access fiber optic network, providing wholesale telecommunications transport services, colocation and tower leasing. Since its inception in 2004 and by offering a state-of-the-art fiber optic network, MBC has supported the recruitment of major investments to southern Virginia including data centers, call center/operations centers, advanced manufacturing, research and development, and bio-tech industries. For more information, visit


Media Contact
Liz Smith, Mid-Atlantic Broadband
(434) 570-1312