What a rollercoaster! There were so many ups and downs this weekend. We started on a high note, being ready for most of our practice matches and feeling confident in out robot’s design and gameplay. Unfortunately, when qualifiers came, we struggled to raise our rank. Waiting anxiously in 35th place, we watched the alliance selection begin. Once again, our robot’s consistent elevator got us picked in to an alliance with Wingus and Dingus and Hex Hounds. Though Hex Hounds is also a local team, Wingus and Dingus is a rookie team from New Zealand. It was amazing to be in an alliance with the team that won most of the rookie awards at the competition.
While our drive team was hard at work proving what our robot could do, our marketing team was busy scouting, presenting, and giving tours. For scouting, small groups of us would walk from pit to pit to ask other team about their robots. A few of us even sat in the stands and watched matched to check the accuracy of the information given. There was no time to rest indeed for our marketing team. Though on practice day we were mostly scouting, on competition day we presented for Chairman's and volunteered as team ambassadors. For Chairman’s we switched up our group and impressively were able to make an even more polished presentation than North Dakota in the various stairwells of the arena. After our presentation we all were feeling great and ready to take on our various tasks. One of us went to be a mascot and dance with the other mascots, while another one of us went off to trade with the current technician for the role of technician. Alyssa joined me to be an ambassador and give tours to the invited guests. We also wowed our wonderful superintendent Pat Deklotz with our passion and skill.
With our robot performing as we wanted, Friday night we decided to party the FIRST way. At the event team social! Here we met other high schoolers from BadgerBots, King TeC, and many more. After a great pizza dinner, we went to the game room. Though some of us could not figure out pool and table tennis, others of us dominated at shuffleboard. Trevor and Lucas (the picture below)* actually won the pool tournament. Good to know our drive team can get pool balls as well as cargo into their targets. With shuffleboard we may have changed the rules slightly, but we were no less excited when one of us scored a 5. We even introduced some other teams to shuffle board. At the ping pong tables, we divided and conquered, quite literally. With team members on each of 2 tables, we hit more balls than one could count over the walls. After many laughs it was time to go home and put on our game faces for competition day.
Starting in the quarter finals, we celebrated our team’s first success. Team members from UPS (Ultimate Protection Squad) and Port Piratech, our pit neighbors who we danced with throughout all three days, joined us in cheering after each piece of cargo and each hatch was placed. Ending in a tie after our second match our marketing team did a team prayer and our drive team prepared to fight their way into the semi-finals. Our prayers were answered when we won by 3 points. Throughout competitors were worthy and fierce, we were the ones moving on. Our friends from team 1038, who awarded us with the best friends award, joined our growing crowd by our alliance members, the Hex Hounds. Together, we fought, hoped, prayed, and watched. Once again, our prayers were answered after a 1 point victory that propelled us in to the finals. Here, our scream grew louder as Cyberhawks members joined us. With our wicked dance moves and new friends, we anticipated the results. Finally, our hopes were dashed. That was, until we were sitting in the awards ceremony, hearing about the 2 wild cards. One for our amazing alliance captains, the Hex Hounds, and one… for us! Finally, all of our hard work paid off. We had qualified for the Championships, as had been our goal all season.