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Friday, March 30, 2012

Qualifying Matches

The opening ceremonies started and, as usual,the political celebrities were on display. Amy Klobuchar, a MN U.S. Senator, was the first celebrity to speak. She talked about how important the students who are in FIRST Robotics are to the state's future. The other major celebrity during the ceremony was Minneapolis mayor, R.T. Rybak. Of course, there were appearances by Dean Kamen and Woodie Flowers, two of the founding members of FIRST. The nerves of team were at a fever pitch by the end of the ceremony because we were in the second match of the day.

FYI: The matches are 3 robots vs. 3 robots. Our teammates are randomly assigned, as are our opponents. The first 15 seconds are programmed robot operation (autonomous) and the next 2 minutes are driver controlled.

The main stays of the drive team all day were Bryce, Molly, and Tyler. The cool thing about our drive team is that they are all in 9th or 10th grade. They have many more years to come! Our matches begin with waiting in the queue line out in a hallway. This is where we usually arrange our game strategy with our alliance members and the coopertition bridge with our opponents. After the queue line, we move up to boxes on the stage. We wait there until the next match is over and we bring our robot out to compete!

Qualifying #1 - This was our first match with autonomous which we had never practiced in a real competition. Luckily, it worked! We made the first shot for 6 points. Unfortunately, that's all that we and our alliance would score. We did not end up with a win. The major problem we were having was with the drive train. It was very difficult for Bryce to turn.

Qualifying #2 - This match ended in a tie. Our autonomous shots were slightly off so the basketballs barely sailed over the hoop. During the teleop, we picked up quite a few basketballs which was major progress and really awesome to see. Unfortunately, the accuracy of our shots was not perfect. Still, a tie got us one qualifying point. We had a HUGE break of over 3 hours after this match. We fixed the horn by putting in different pins. Everyone used that time to eat lunch.

Qualifying #3 - We continued to have success picking up basketballs which was an encouraging sign. We also continued to miss shots which was a discouraging sign. Luckily, one of our teammates got onto the coopertition bridge with an opponent and got us 2 qualifying points.

Qualifying #4 - We were having major issues turning all morning. Our robot also had issues getting over the bridge which was a major concern. So we decided to switch out two of the inner sprockets on our wheels. This was a tremendous undertaking for the team. We only had about 45 minutes to accomplish the task. But thanks to a little organization and separating of tasks, we got the job done. Unfortunately, we had no time to test the chains. So when we went out for our fourth match, one of the chains came off right away. We were basically stuck the entire 2 minutes. We made one shot during autonomous so it wasn't a total failure.

Qualifying #5 - We got the chain issue resolved and tested it on the practice field. It worked pretty well! We focused almost entirely on the bridges, either getting over our bridge or onto the coopertition bridge. However, our teammates came through and our alliance won the match! Woo hoo!

Qualifying #6 - We missed both autonomous shots but made one during teleop. One of our teammates tried to get on the coopertition bridge but tipped over. Oops... Tyler made two full court shots though! WOW! We asked around and no team had someone make even two total! Tyler rocks.

Qualifying #7 - We missed autonomous again but were so close! We spent almost all of this match trying to get on the coopertition bridge. We got over our bridge and onto the other side. Unfortunately, we still did not have enough power to get back onto the bridge with one of our opponents. We lost this match as well.

THE BEST PART OF THE DAY: Jenna (and the team) won the Entrepreneurship Award!!!! WOW! Congrats to Jenna for all of her hard work. The business plan was a culmination of many hours spent writing and revising. Big thanks goes out to the teachers who helped: Wendy Watts and Tom Fleming. Jenna also did a fantastic judge talking about the business plan to the judges who walked around throughout the day.

Although the robot competitions did not go as planned, nothing ever does. The team was resilient and really improved throughout the day. Plus, we won an award which is sweet. We still have two matches tomorrow. First at 10:30am and another at 11am. Then there are alliance selections.

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