Blog - April 2015

2015 FRC Championship

Overview

With the increased size of the championship from 400 teams last year to just over 600 teams this year, 4 new divisions were added: Tesla, Carson, Carver, and Hopper. Team 254 was a member of the Carson division and ended up seeding first, picking teams 973, 999, and 4499, and then unfortunately experiencing some bad luck and being eliminated in divisional quarterfinals.

However, the team received the Industrial Design Award for their outstanding robot and had a great time in St. Louis on Sunday.

Qualification Rounds

The team played a total of 10 qualification matches on Thursday and Friday. Some matches were tough, but in others the team scored more than 240 points! By the end of Friday, 254 seeded first with a qualification average of 211.1, the highest of any team at the Championship, let alone any official FIRST event.

Here are some videos of our Qual matches, recorded by Team 1511: Rolling Thunder.

Qual 9: https://www.yo...v=JZOhJp0zlb8

Qual 22: https://www.yo...v=RW7emwjSH3I

Qual 35: https://www.yo...v=tT2bwv63cBk (one of our best of the season!)

Qual 47: https://www.yo...v=FUoWPrFWpI4

Qual 63: https://www.yo...v=gWIw4apFnLg

Qual 70: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-Epkfyrgus8

Qual 83: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1IeSvV7UJxg

Qual 91: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UDrRzd2mqQ8

Qual 103: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9bTKW90O1MY

Qual 114: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HepI6GlEOQg

We had to wake up very early on Thursday and Friday to guarantee good seats in the stands for our scouts!

The team used a tethered ramp that fell down after autonomous to allow us to stack from the human player

The team's autonomous ran perfectly throughout all of the qualification matches

Awards, Alliance Selection, and Playoffs

The team received the Industrial Design Award. This award celebrates form and function in an efficiently designed machine that effectively addresses the game challenge. The judges were impressed with the robot's ability to stack effectively both from the landfill and from the human player station by using a tethered ramp. This year, awards were shared between 2 divisions (about 150 teams total), so to receive the award was quiet prestigious!

During Alliance Selection, Team 254 selected Teams 973: The Greybots, 999: The MechaRams, and 4499: The Highlanders. The alliance was hoping to strike a powerful balance between stacking from both the landfill and human player stations and using fast can grabbers to ensure we would always be able to put up as many stacks as possible.

However, despite all of the alliance's efforts, they were sadly eliminated in the quarterfinals. In their first match, buggy autonomous modes meant 254 was unable to get the 20pt tote stack. Then, after playing a nearly perfect match after that, Team 973 accidentally set down their last second stack on a noodle, causing that stack to fall over and domino another stack. Despite the terrible score, the alliance hoped that they could score at least 215 points in their second match to keep themselves qualified for the semi-finals. Once again, however, 973 ran into 254 during auto, disrupting it and scattering the yellow totes in the way of the cans on the field. Then, after auto, Team 999 tipped over onto the landfill, blocking many of the totes 973 needed to make their stacks. It was an unfortunate series of events and bad luck and the whole alliance was bummed to have been knocked out so early.

However, the boys didn't stay upset for long, we quickly ran around and helped our friends (1114, 971, 1678) competing in other divisions. We loaned batteries to 1114, and cheered on our friends on 1678 as they went on to win the entire World Championship.

Receiving the Industrial Design Award for the Carson-Galileo divisons

Alliance selection with Teams 973 and 999

Lead Mentor, Drive Coach, and WFFA recipient Travis Covington discussing strategy with the driver

The team cheered on our friends on 1678, 118, and 1671 as they battled for the World Championship title.

Relaxing in St. Louis!

On Sunday, students got to choose to either wake up at 10am and go to the City Museum or sleep in and meet up with the others at the Arch at 1pm. It was a lot of fun and really relaxing to hang out and take photos under the Arch for an hour before heading to the airport.

Overall, FRC Worlds this year was one of the best in a long time. All the students had a ton of fun and no one was really bummed for that long. We're excited to return and hoping to do better next year!

The whole team got to relax and visit the Arch on Sunday.

2015 VEX World Championships and “Nothing But Net”

This past week, Team 254A and 254D traveled to Louisville, Kentucky, to compete at the 2015 VEX World Championships. 254A competed in the Science Division, while 254D competed in the Technology Division. Our teams faced off against top teams from places like New Zealand, Texas, China, England, Mexico, and Bahrain. 254A experienced numerous setbacks at the tournament on their scissorlift, such as spilling ketchup onto their Cortex and numerous stripped gears and bent axles. 254A worked around the clock to repair the robot, but unfortunately were unable to fix the robot in time for eliminations. 254D did reasonably well, placing 30th in their division, but also unfortunately did not reach eliminations. On a happier note, the new VEX game "Nothing But Net" has gotten our team members talking about potential designs to shoot balls into a net, such as flywheels and catapults. Unlike previous years, for the majority of the match bots cannot lift above 18 inches, eliminating the lifts that have been dominant in earlier games.

Louisville was also quite a surprise for our teams. The food in Louisville was a lot better than Anaheim, where the majority of previous World Championships have been held. Our team especially enjoyed the Moelicious BBQ food truck and the hot and fresh minidonuts served at the event. Cracker Barrel was also well-liked by students. We also went go-karting in Indianapolis and relaxed at Dockweiler Beach in LA.

2015 Silicon Valley Regional

This weekend the team participated in the Silicon Valley Regional (SVR). It was held at San Jose State University in the Event Center. There were teams from Hawaii and even as far as China. Overall we did quite well in the competition. As detailed in the previous blog post, our very committed lead mentor Travis Covington won the Woodie Flowers Finalist Award.

Travis Wins the Woodie Flowers Finalist Award

Travis wins the Woodie Flowers Finalist Award

Despite issues with the batteries involving low voltage that are still unresolved, the robot performed extremely well. We ranked number one in the qualification rounds, even scoring exactly 254 points one round. We were in an alliance with team 1678 the Citrus Circuits and team 5027 Event Horizon for all of the elimination rounds. Together with our alliance partners we were able to become the Regional Winners, an honor for which each member of our team received a medal and the whole team received a blue banner. The first round of the quarter finals did not go too well for us because the ramp became misaligned, a stack of totes fell out of our robot and an alliance partner knocked over a stack of totes; however we recovered the next round and ranked as number one in both the quarterfinals and the semifinals and won the finals 2-0, scoring exactly 254 points again in the very final match of the competition! For our robustness in concept and fabrication we were conferred with the Quality Award.

The results of the final rounds

The results of the final rounds

The scoreboard when we scored 254 points the first time

The scoreboard when we scored 254 points the first time

Excitement after we score exactly 254 points

Excitement after we score exactly 254 points

Everybody at the end of the tournament

Everybody at the end of the tournament

It was a great event, and there were many strong robots, but there are a couple teams in particular who deserve recognition for their especially strong performance. Team 1678, the Citrus Circuits from Davis California, who eventually became our alliance partners, had a very effective robot and also won the Gracious Professionalism Award for exemplifying the core values of FIRST. Team 971, Spartan Robotics from Mountain View had a unique but very effective design. They were finalists and received the Excellence in Engineering Award.

The Silicon Valley Regional was a very well run event, which was for the most part on time, and often even ahead of schedule. Despite the annoyance of not being allowed to bring any food or drink into the event center, it was overall a very positive experience. We should all be proud of the accomplishments of both our team and the entire FRC community.

Woodie Flowers Finalist Award

This afternoon, Lead Mentor Travis Covington received the Woodie Flowers Finalist Award at the Silicon Valley Regional!

This prestigious award is given to only one mentor at each regional for that mentor's ability to effectively communicate with and inspire students.

After nominating Travis for this award for many years in a row the entire team was so ecstatic to see someone so deserving finally get recognized. The students and mentors were cheering as if they had just won the World Championships again!

The other mentors congratulating Travis as he won

Travis' smile was bigger than ever!