Monday, February 23, 2015

Some Decisions are Really Hard

As we let you know in the last post, we were one of 8 teams that advanced from the State Championship to the Super Regional in San Antonio. We have been so proud of our season and excited about the opportunity. But we've had a lot of thinking to do.

After coming up with a budget for the trip, we realized that we would have to raise a significant amount of money in only a couple of weeks. We don't think we will be able to do it, we've decided that we won't be able to go. Our coaches sent the email to GeorgiaFirst to let them know.

As disappointed as we are, we are still very proud of all that we accomplished this year. And there's always next year . . .

Saturday, February 21, 2015

Successful State Championship!

We were excited to be part of the state championship at Mt. Paran Christian School on Saturday, February 14. It was a very good day!

Because it was Feb 14, we decided we needed to have a little Valentine's Day swag.

We set up our pit, went through the hardware and software inspections and field check which all went smoothly. Then we got ready for our judges session.

Then the matches began. We had pretty good success in the matches, and half way through we were ranked #1!

When the qualifying matches were over, we were ranked #5. We were very excited by how well we did, but were disappointed that we didn't automatically advance to the semifinals. But our disappointment didn't last when two of the top 4 teams joined the same alliance and that moved us up to 4th place! 

As alliance captains, we got to choose 2 teams to form our alliance. Thanks to Brandon's excellent scouting, we thought we could made a good decision.

We selected Team Genius and Gears. We had about 15 minutes to form our strategy before the competition began. 

 We went into the competition with high hopes. And though we were competing against the no. 1 ranked team and alliance, we performed really well.

Unfortunately, we weren't able to win the semifinals, and our competition ended with us finishing 4th. We had a lot of fun competing with our alliance partners.

While we were disappointed, we were very proud of that accomplishment. 4th in a competition of 36 teams, and out of 80 teams in the state isn't bad!

Now we waited for the closing ceremony. We were very honored to win the Motivate award.

Then we were blown away to learn that we advanced to the Super Regional in San Antonio! Wow! What an amazing season!

Next, we packed up our pit and headed to our traditional celebratory dinner. It was a very good day!

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Movie Stars

We are excited to introduce our new outreach video.

Click here to view the star-studded movie.

We want to thank Joe Ninowski for making the video for us. He did an awesome job!

Friday, February 6, 2015

Family Science Night at Mimosa Elementary School

We were invited to participate in Family Science Night at Mimosa Elementary School. This was the same event we did at a different school in the spring, and we knew it would be fun. Since only Jackson and David could go, we invited Team Genius to join us (FTC team 5875, the Inspire Award winners at the Techno Crusaders qualifier).

We set up in a classroom and had 3 groups of kids to present to. We presented what FIRST and FTC are all about to kids and parents. Upon the start of our presentation, we explained the importance of engineering, the different engineering fields, and how FTC can prepare for college, work, and everyday life after college.

Team Genius and our team had our display boards and we both demo'd our robots. Team Genius let the kids drive theirs around.

While the kids were driving, parents came and asked us questions about our team and FIRST. Some even asked in depth questions about our robot.

We gave everyone who wanted a FIRST pamphlet and a business card in case they had any more questions. We really enjoy doing this outreach.

Our Second Qualifier . . . A VERY Successful Day

January 10, 2015 began bright and early as we arrived at Athens Academy for our second qualifier. We unpacked the cart before loading the bins onto the trolley and carting our massive load down to the pit area. We immediately set up our banner, power, and set to work charging and preparing for the long day ahead of us. Little did we know that later that night we would be going home with a winning alliance trophy and the Inspire Award, as well as an invitation to the state championship.

Our first order of business was to go through the hardware inspection. We passed with flying colors, and then moved on to the software inspection, which we likewise passed in a miniscule of time.

Secondly, we went on to the judging area to practice our lines. The judging was running late, which worked out in our favor by giving us more time to practice and read over our lines. However, once we went in, the overall presentation and our answers to the many questions given to us by the judges were comprehensive. Our goal was to leave the judges with little they didn't know about our team. In addition, we hoped the the flashiness of our spirit wear and our outrageously pink hats would make an impression.

We then attended the drivers' meeting and the opening ceremony before starting in the very first match of the day. We won this match with a large amount of points due to our flawless autonomous execution, and our effective tele-op strategy. Throughout the rest of the day we encountered a few problems, including many autonomous problems resulting from hardware and initial robot placement options. However, we were still able to make it into the top four and become an alliance captain.

This is when our scouting really came into play. Throughout the day, I, Brandon, had been taking careful notes on each and every team during their many matches.

Surprisingly, there were only a handful of teams that could score and a single team that could score into the center goal. This team was the best pick. However, there was a problem, as they were the second seed. Thankfully after some discussion, they decided that we would be a great partner as well and said they would pick us. But we weren't out of the woods yet. The first seed also wanted to pick us!

After some discussion with the first team we were able to be picked by the second seed, team 6278, The Gladiators. We then went on to do incredibly well with the team and participated in the semifinals, which were incredibly close and went on to a third round. Unfortunately, on the third round of the semifinal our robot malfunctioned! The autonomous program failed and caused us to collide against our team mate! The final score was incredibly close. Thankfully, we won the semifinal by only TWO points! Two points.

We then went on to the final. The highlights were that we won the first round, but had a motor controller error on the second round and unable to move the left side of our robot, leading to a loss! We were able to make a quick replacement and get back into the game for the final round, which we won! We shook hands with our opponents and congratulated our alliance partner on going to state, a bit disappointed that we were unable to automatically move on as well.


We shook hands with our opponents and congratulated our alliance partner on going to state, a bit disappointed that we were unable to automatically move on as well.

We went down to the pit to pack as we prepared for the award ceremony. During the award ceremony, we were surprised to realize that we were finalists in every single award category. However, the final award of the day was us winning the Inspire award! Needless to say, we were incredibly excited!

We wrapped up the night by heading to a pizza restaurant and celebrating with a good, calorie-filled dinner. What an amazing day!