by Andrew Torrance '15
This past weekend, Team 254 had a great time competing at the Waterloo Regional in Ontario, Canada. We traveled all the way from San Jose, California to compete against some of the best teams in the world and made some new friends along the way. In the end, the team seeded second, picked Teams 2056 and 865 and went on to win the tournament, the Quality Award, and the Gracious Professionalism Award.
Summary of Accomplishments
- Tournament Champions with Teams 2056 and 865
- 17-2 Win-Loss record through Quals and Elims
- Number two seed
- Quality Award
- Gracious Professionalism Award
- Set the current world record score of 350 without penalties
- 34 blue banners, more than any other team
- Highest scores Autonomous and Assist categories over first-seeded team
Travel and Extra Fun
The team flew from San Francisco airport to Chicago and then to Buffalo. We drove the rest of the way to Waterloo. On Thursday night we had dinner with our friends from Team 1114, the SimBots, and had the chance to meet and make new ones. After elimination matches, all the students ran outside and had a huge snowball fight with Teams 1114 and 865. Most would agree that the Canadians won. On Saturday night, all 16 students hung out in the hotel and had fun talking and bonding. On the way home, we also stopped briefly at Niagara Falls for some more great memories!
The team set up the pits on Thursday and participated in practice matches, including one with powerhouse teams 1114 and 2056. On Friday we presented Chairman's, spoke to judges, and played 10 qualification matches. Throughout the entire day, a group of mentors and students constantly ran around the pits to discuss strategy with our partners. Oftentimes we would help temporarily modify our alliance partners' robots for a specific role in a strategic cycle we had planned. We frequently helped them fix autonomous code and intakes so they could inbound and pass the ball more easily. On Saturday the team won its remaining 3 qualification matches, allied with 2056 in one match and against them in another. Finally, we were seeded second behind Team 4039 and in front of 2056.
During alliance selection, the first-seeded team, 4039, chose 1114. To counter this, we chose team 2056 and later 865 to help inbound and play defense. Other powerful alliances formed included Team Dave (3683) and 1241. Even with our small group of students and limited scouting team, the mentors and students worked hard and believed they had picked a winning alliance.
The elimination matches saw some of the fiercest competition. All throughout the quarter and semi finals the robot faced heavy defense and was getting some nicks and scratches, but still managed to hold up well. In the second semifinal match we managed to run the "Go for Gold" cycle nearly flawlessly, scoring 60 points each cycle when 2056 caught our truss throw. This match put up a new current world record of 350 points without penalties. On the other side of the bracket, Team 4039 and 1114 were defeated by the number 4 seeded alliance with Team Dave and 1241. The Simbots lost two of three matches specifically through technical fouls (50 points each) that shifted the favor to the blue alliance. In the finals against Team Dave's alliance, we managed to edge out a victory in just 2 matches running the "Omaha" cycle and playing defense on Team Dave. The exciting finish was celebrated with a huge snowball fight outside with members from 1114 and 865.
A Great Finish!
During the awards ceremony, Team 254 ecstatically received the Quality Award for their beautiful robot with a 3 ball autonomous and clean pit. We also received the Gracious Professionalism Award for helping so many teams at the tournament with everything from repairing electronics and drivetrains to fixing their code. We are so grateful to have participated in this regional and extremely thankful to all the Canadian teams, volunteers, and others, who were extremely welcoming and friendly. We had a great time making new friends and a lot of the team discussed the possibility of returning to the regional next year.