Welcome back! I know it’s been a while since the last update, but we tend to underestimate how hectic competition season can be, especially when it’s intertwined with finals and such, which makes it hard to sit down and write a blog post in full. That means I have quite a bit to go over, though, so buckle up!
Our first competition of the year was the Northern Lights Regional up in Duluth. It’s part of the “Double-DECCer”, wherein two regional competitions take place in one massive convention center. Excluding the international championship events, it’s the largest and most well-attended FIRST event in the world. We tend to perform poorly at our first regional, so we went into Northern Lights with relatively low expectations, but we did better than anyone could have possibly anticipated. Thanks to some fortunate matches, some killer strategy, and the extensive drive practice we undertook before the competition, we finished the qualification rounds in fourth place overall! That meant that we got to serve as an alliance captain and select two other teams to accompany us into the playoff rounds. We selected the Henry Sibley Lightning Turtles and the Data Bits, with whose help we advanced into the semi-final rounds! Unfortunately, due in part to an incredibly formidable opposing alliance and in part to our perennial “semi-final curse”, we didn’t advance beyond the semi-finals. Regardless of that fact, we were all more than satisfied with how well we did. Here’s a full summary of our match results:
|Match||Red Alliance||Blue Alliance||Scores|
|Quarters 4 Match 1||3100||2823||3883||2501||2511||4182||52||68|
|Quarters 4 Match 2||3100||2823||3883||2501||2511||4182||71||49|
|Quarters 4 Match 3||3100||2823||3883||2501||2511||4182||69||49|
|Semis 2 Match 1||4607||2826||3130||3100||2823||3883||75||56|
|Semis 2 Match 2||4607||2826||3130||3100||2823||3883||85||71|
And here are some videos of us in action:
After that came the 10,000 Lakes Regional Sponsored by the Medtronic Foundation (bit of a mouthful, huh? It makes me miss the days when it was called the “Medtronic Foundation Regional” or even just “10,000 Lakes”). Still reeling from our last competition, and founding our high expectations with some more drive practice and an improved bot, we presumed that this regional would go even better. Unfortunately, some iffy matches and unfortunate malfunctions resulted in us coming out of the qualifications in rank 40. Though we didn’t get to be alliance captains, we still managed to advance into the playoffs thanks to a very gracious pick from the team ranked 7th, Armada Robotics. They had a dependable climbing mechanism and were sturdy enough to perform some good defense, making them the perfect complement to our fast but light robot. We also picked The Breck Stampede, on whom, per their signature cheer, you can’t impede. We were pretty confident in this alliance, but we would face a similar situation to that of Duluth – success in quarterfinals, facing an incredibly good alliance in semifinals, eventual loss. It wasn’t all bad, though – our team’s long-running inside joke about “sending it”, the tactic of sending the robot careening to the second climb level named after a viral snowmobiling sensation, finally came to fruition. To our collective excitement, we successfully “sent it” in multiple playoff matches!
Here are our match results:
|Match||Red Alliance||Blue Alliance||Scores|
|Quarters 2 Match 1||4198||5913||3751||2823||2508||3630||61||46|
|Quarters 2 Match 2||4198||5913||3751||2823||2508||3630||70||74|
|Quarters 2 Match 3||4198||5913||3751||2823||2508||3630||57||71|
|Semis 1 Match 1||2052||5172||3026||2823||2508||3630||95||73|
|Semis 1 Match 2||2052||5172||3026||2823||2508||3630||90||74|
And here’s some videos of us in action:
(We sent it in the match that the second video corresponds to, but, oddly, it cuts out before you can actually see it happen. You’re going to have to trust me on this one.)
So, anyway, all of that leads me to good news and bad news. The bad news is, unless we receive a wild card that grants us entry to the Detroit international competition (which is looking unlikely at the moment), we won’t be eligible for any more official FIRST events this year. The good news is, due to our unprecedentedly good performance at our first regional, we’ll be competing at the MSHSL Robotics State Competition in May! A bit of context: for robotics to be considered a sport in the state of Minnesota, there must be a State Championship, which is why this particular event exists. (Some states have similar events, but most don’t, as it’s not required by FIRST). Entry into this event is based on the amount of “district points” a team receives at their first competition, which are determined by rank, performance, and the awards a team wins. Normally, we don’t get all that many, but ranking fourth has its perks! In other words, the 2019 season isn’t quite over for us just yet!
As always, you can keep up with the Automatons via Twitter. There are more updates to come, so stay tuned!