Blog - November 2018

Madtown Throwdown Offseason Tournament

A Brief Summary

As part of an eventful weekend, we attended Madtown Throwdown, an annually hosted offseason tournament hosted by Team 1323 (Madtown Robotics), in Madera, CA. We had a great time jumping back into action with our robot, Lockdown, before the start of the 2019 FRC Season. Alongside, FRC Team 1323 MadTown Robotics, their offseason robot (9323), and our own programming robot (9254), we were able to win the tournament!

Team 254 and alliance partners Team 1323 and our programming robot 9254 in position before an elims match

Event Summary and Highlights

General Summary

Overall, Madtown Throwdown was a great event for our team. Lockdown, our competition robot, went undefeated 15-0. Our programming robot, was run by an all-freshman pit crew and drive team to ensure that our new members gain a valuable experience before the 2019 FRC Season. The programming robot had a great qualifications match record and was lucky to join Lockdown in an alliance at the tournament. We also had a swerve robot, which we worked on all summer, with a 3-person pit crew, which finished 2nd to last place in the tournament. With rotating pit crews and drive teams, all team members were able to gain some valuable technical experience at the tournament.

Programming Robot Drive Team Members, Abhinav Nallapa and Dylan Shumba, are seen in action

Robot Performance

Competition Robot Strategy

During qualification matches, we aimed to earn all 4 ranking points. In order to to reach this goal, we had to run our switch autonomous program. We also fought to achieve scale dominance as early as possible during the match to allow for time to shore up our own switch/exchange, attack the opposing alliance’s switch, and hang at the end of the match. We generally went for the scale first and peeled off to either our own switch or the opposing alliance’s switch whenever needed.
During alliance selection, we partnered with Team 1323 Madtown Robotics, their offseason robot (9323), and our own programming robot (9254). During the elimination matches, we worked with Team 1323 and ran our dual autonomous program to gain dominance over the scale, while ensuring ownership of our switch as well. Lockdown and 1323’s competition robot focused on scale ownership, and 1323’s competition robot would fall back for defense whenever necessary. When we had a headstart on the scale, Lockdown would attack the opponent switch, as seen during quarterfinals and semifinals. 1323’s competition robot hung at the end of the match, but we did not pursue a buddy climb since the other two robots were unable to climb onto our forks.

Programming Robot Strategy

During the qualification matches, our programming robot played a supportive role and generally tried to get a few cubes scored in its switch, scale, and exchange. However, during the elimination matches, our programming robot functioned as a switch/exchange robot to ensure that we had enough cubes to use the levitate powerup. We also chose to defend robots from the opposing alliance when given the opportunity.

Summer Project Robot Strategy

During the qualifications matches, our summer project robot functioned as a switch/exchange robot to defend our own switch and make sure there were cubes in our vault. Sometimes, we would also attack our opponent’s switch. Unfortunately, our swerve robot was not chosen during the elimination period.

Lockdown and our Summer Project Robot in position before a qualification match

A Special Thanks

Since this was Team 254’s third time attending Madtown Throwdown, we would like to say thank you to Team 1323 (Madtown Robotics) for hosting the tournament and making us feel welcome!

Some new members on Team 254 celebrate the team’s victory

Discovery Day 2018

Event Summary

On November 3rd, Team 254 appeared at the Bay Area Science Festival Discovery Day in AT&T Park to demonstrate our 2018 season robot Lockdown. We talked about our 2018 season, what we do as a robotics team, and how others can get involved in robotics. We collaborated with Teams 1868 (Space Cookies), 2643 (Dark Matter), 4159 (Cardinalbotics), and 5026 (Iron Panther Robotics) to demonstrate to people what robotics and FIRST have allowed us to accomplish as young high school students. This event allowed us to share our knowledge and experiences with the surrounding community.

254 Members and alumni, Themis Hadjioannou, pose for a team picture

Our Experiences

Our experience at Discovery Day not only spread awareness for STEM within our community, but also made an impact on our team. Outreach leader, Abhinav Nallapa stated, “I loved seeing the smiles and the cheers from the kids watching when they saw our robot lifting up power cubes 7 feet into the air.” Our team allowed visitors to touch our robot and look at it up close, while also answering any of their questions about our robot. In general, people were astonished to see the speed of our robot and how tall it could expand, and a several people asked how they could get involved with what FIRST has to offer. Overall, Discovery Day was an outstanding outreach event and we wish to continue making such a profound impact in our community!

Team 254 Outreach Director, Abhinav Nallapa, shows the capabilities of Lockdown to interested visitors