Tournaments Blog

2016 FRC Championship

Overview

This past weekend, from Tuesday until Saturday, we participated in the FIRST Robotics Competition World Championships in Saint Louis, Missouri. On Tuesday, a smaller group of students left early to set up the pit and make sure everything would be set up for when the rest of the students arrived on Wednesday. We were placed into the Newton division, and with Team 1241, Team 1731, and Team 708 we played some great games in eliminations, but unfortunately were eliminated in the subdivision finals.

Qualifications

On Thursday and Friday, we played 10 qualification matches across both days, and earned 9 wins and 1 loss throughout those games. In qualification match 100, we even managed to push a disabled robot onto the batter, securing us an extra ranking point and winning us the game with a final score of 140-139. The qualifications overall went well for us, as we earned 35 ranking points and ended up as second seed going into eliminations.

Eliminations, Einstein, and Awards

Saturday opened with the alliance selections, and we partnered up with the first seed team, Team 1241, Team 1731, and Team 708. With this alliance we hoped to consistently score highly while preventing the opposing alliance from having free reign on their side of the field. This strategy seemed to work out throughout our quarterfinal and semifinal games, with us scoring around 240 points in most of those games. In fact, we scored 254 points in our second semifinals game excluding foul points; however, a red card on our alliance prevented our score from being recorded that game. Moving into the finals, we matched up against an alliance including Team 217, Team 4678, Team 3476, and Team 188. Although we played hard, we were eliminated from the tournament in the Newton finals.

In the end, we would like to congratulate Team 330, Team 2481, Team 120, and Team 1086 for their success in winning the FIRST Robotics Competition World Championships. Additionally, we are proud of Team 987’s achievement in earning the Chairman’s Award, cementing them as a Hall of Fame team. Overall, we are extremely grateful to have had the opportunity to interact and play against many great teams at the Championships and hope to do even better next year.

2016 VEX World Championship

This past week, VEX Team 254C travelled to Louisville, Kentucky to compete in the 2016 VEX Worlds Championship web project management tools. 254C competed in the Arts division at worlds. In total, there were four other high school divisions, each consisting of 100 teams from around the world.



254C discussing strategy with their alliance partners

By the end of the 250 qualification matches, 254C had won 6 of it’s 10 qualification matches, and was ranked 26th by alliance selection. Unfortunately, this was not enough to convince other teams to invite them to an alliance, and so their Nothing But Net season ended there.



254C’s drive team watches their robot perform during the autonomous period

However, students have already begun to think about the new 2016-2017 VEX Robotics Competition, Starstruck, which will require a drastically different design from Nothing but Net.

Silicon Valley Regional Champion

This past weekend, we participated in the Silicon Valley Regional hosted by Google.

Qualifications

Throughout the qualification matches, the work we put in over the past few weeks payed off as we performed stronger in many areas than we had at CVR. We overall performed well, consistently crossing defenses and shooting high goals from the courtyard while earning a win/loss record of 8-0. Our success in the qualifications allowed us to place second in ranking moving onto the alliance selections.

Demonstrating Pit Display

Eliminations and Awards

During alliance selection, we went with the first ranked team, Team 1678, and Team 1662. With those teams, we went undefeated throughout eliminations and came out as the regional champions. During our second quarterfinal game, we even scored the highest amount of points in the tournament with a score of 205. Although we didn't win any awards, we were honored to play with such great teams and are looking forward to the upcoming World Championships.

Central Valley Regional Champion

Team 254 just returned from the Central Valley Regional.

Qualifications

During the Central Valley Regional, from Thursday to Sunday, we competed with a variety of teams from all throughout California. Throughout the qualification matches, our robot, Dropshot, performed solidly, and despite one match with connection problems, it won 9 out of its 10 matches, ranking us at second place for the qualification matches. In our second quarterfinal match, we even scored 210 points, the highest score of this season so far.

Eliminations and Awards

During alliance selection, we joined an alliance with Team 1678 (Citrus Circuits) and Team 3970 (Duncan Dynamics). In our second quarterfinal match, we scored 210 points, the highest score of this season so far. We also made it all the way to the finals and won the regional, scoring 205 points in our first finals game. After the exciting finals, we also received the Innovation in Control Award for Dropshot’s targeting system. Overall, this tournament was successful for us, but we plan to continue iterating on our designs and improving shot consistency for the upcoming Silicon Valley Regional.

2016 Duel In Diablo VEX Tournament

This past Saturday, VEX teams 254E and 254F travelled to Concord, to compete in the Duel in Diablo Nothing but Net VEX Tournament. At the tournament, they competed against 27 other teams from around the area.

Team 254E works on their robot between matches.

Both teams performed very well throughout the qualification matches. 254E, with just a single loss, finished the qualification matches ranked 3rd overall. 254F also performed fairly well, ranking 11th by the end of the qualification matches.

254F uses their match loads during a match.

During alliance selection, 254E invited 254F to join the third seed alliance. Due to the size of the tournament, each alliance only contained two teams. Unfortunately, this turned into a problem when the robots from 254E and 254F had issues, and there were no other robots to rely on. This led to the alliance being eliminated during quarterfinals.

254E & 254F strategize before their first quarterfinals match.

Despite not doing as well as they had hoped during eliminations, 254F was awarded the sportsmanship award.

2015 Tracy Triangle VEX Tournament

Yesterday, VEX teams 254B, 254D, 254E, 254F, 254G, & 254H attended the Tracy Triangle VEX Tournament. With over 80 teams, this was the largest VEX tournament our teams attended this season.

Team 254E lines up their robot.

Throughout the tournament, all 254 teams performed very well. By the end of the qualification matches, 254B had gone undefeated and ranked 3rd out of all teams. During alliance selection 254B invited 254F & 4768C to join their alliance. Additionally, 254H joined an alliance with 4768B and 4768. 254E also joined an alliance with 5772 and 5327C.

254F discussing strategy with 254G.

Unfortunately, teams 254B, 254F, & 254H were eliminated during quarterfinals. 254E made it through several challenging elimination matches, but ultimately lost in their 3rd final match by a small margin.

Students pose for a team picture.

At the end of the tournament, 254H was awarded the Create Award for their robot design. Congratulations to the tournament champions 5776T, 8000B, & 8000D.

2015 Willow Glen VEX Tournament

Yesterday, Team 254 for had the opportunity to compete in the Willow Glen Plaza VRC Tournament. VEX Teams 254A, 254B, 254C, 254D, 254E, & 254H had the opportunity to compete against 18 other VEX teams from around the area.

vex

Overall, all 254 VEX teams performed very well. By the end of the qualification matches, 254C was ranked 1st, and 254B was ranked 2nd. 254E and 254A also performed very well, ranking 6th and 9th, respectively. All 254 teams made it into the elimination matches, with the first seed alliance consisting of 254C, 254B, and 254F. Unfortunately 254D’s alliance was eliminated during the quarterfinals, and 254C, 254B, & 254F lost to 254A’s alliance during semifinals.

vex

During the finals matches, teams 563F, 254A, & 256B went head to head with 563, 254E, & 6734B. After four exciting matches, 563F, 254A, & 256B won, due to a last minute strategy change that led to the 254E accidentally entering their opponent’s loading zone, which led to a disqualification.

vex

Additionally, 254C also won the Excellence Award, and ranked first in robot skills at the tournament.

2015 Central Valley Nothing But Net Tournament

Last Saturday (12/5/2015) VEX teams 254C, 254B, and 254F competed in the 5th Annual Central Valley VEX Robotics Challenge. For all teams that competed, this was their 3rd tournament of the season, so it was a great opportunity to implement changes based on their previous tournaments.

Team 254B preparing for an elimination match.

Overall, all teams performed very well at the tournament. Throughout the day, all 254 teams were ranked highly, and were strong competitors. 254B ended the qualification matches ranked 7th, and was invited to join the 3rd seed alliance with teams 973A & 4033B. Team 254C went into alliance selection as the undefeated first seed robot, and picked teams 3396 & 973G to join their alliance. While team 254B unfortunately lost during the semifinals, team 254C was able to win all of their matches throughout eliminations, and ultimately won the tournament.

Team 254C poses with their robot, trophy, and alliance partners.

Despite not making it into the elimination matches, team 254F impressed the judges with their robot and strategy, and was awarded the Judges Award.

Team 254F & their alliance partners discussing strategy before their match.

This tournament was a rather successful one for Team 254, and everyone involved learned a lot. Teams will now return to working on their robots and strategies for the upcoming Willow Glen tournament.

2015 DVHS VEX Tournament

This past weekend (10/18), VEX Teams 254A, 254B, 254C, 254F, & 254E all competed at the DVHS VEX Tournament. Being the first tournament of the season, it was a great opportunity for our VEX teams to determine how their robots functioned during competition, and to test their strategies.

Team 254A making last minute changes to their code.

With their single flywheel design, and a strong lift, team 254C was eventually invited to join the sixth seed alliance, with teams 824C and 5327B. After several close matches during quarter-finals, narrowly won and moved on the semi-finals, where they were unfortunately defeated by teams 8000A, 8000D, and 5776Y. Congratulations to tournament winners, 5776T, 5369, & 5776.

Team 254C lifting their alliance partner.

Overall, our teams all had a lot of fun at the tournament, and learned a lot from other teams. Several of our teams now have plans to work to improve their robots for the upcoming Bellarmine VEX Tournament.

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


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look at these guys.com/2015/04/96aa07e5-SVR2015_55C6852-400×259.jpg’ />

Travis’ smile was bigger than ever!

2015 Central Valley Regional

This weekend, from Thursday to Sunday, Team 254's FRC team competed in the Central Valley Regional FRC Tournament held at Madera South High School. Our team had an extremely strong showing, seeding second place in the qualifiers and taking home first place along with Team 1678: Citrus Circuits and Team 1323: Madtown Robotics. Throughout the tournament, our robot, Deadlift, consistently pulled off the three tote autonomous and stacked up six totes with a recycling bin and litter, scoring 42 points per full stack! We were also presented the Quality Award based on our robot's overall robustness and quality of design. Overall, this weekend was very successful for our FRC team and we would like to commend every team that participated in CVR this weekend.

Team 254 joining Team 1678 in an alliance

Deadlift stacking totes

Congratulations!

Working hard in the pits

Tracy NorCal VEX Skyrise Tournament

On Saturday, 1/31, 254A, 254B, 254C, 254E, 254F, and 254G competed at Merrill F. West High School at the Tracy NorCal VEX Skyrise Tournament. 5 of our 6 VEX teams at Tracy reached the elimination rounds, a strong showing from the Cheesy Poofs! 254B and 254F joined 824B during the elimination rounds, and reached the semifinals. Team 254C joined 9378A and 9378B, and reached the quarterfinals. Team 254E joined 5776 and 8000D, reaching the quarterfinals.

Team 254F competing in the quarterfinals

254A, using an eight-bar side-roller robot design, reached the finals alongside 5369 (the Duckies) and 5327C (Gael Force) as part of the first-seed alliance. Unfortunately, after a long deliberation by the referees, they lost to the second seeded alliance in two matches. Congratulations to 1935A(HEART Academy San Jose), 7579B(Next Generation Science & Technology Group), and 8000B(Head-Royce School)! In addition, Team 254C won the Sportsmanship Award!

254A joining the first seed alliance

Team 254C proudly showing their Sportsmanship Award

Our teams learned a lot at Tracy about potential designs and had a lot of fun, and are looking to make improvements to their robots for the NorCal State Championship, coming up at the beginning of March!

Team 254A undergoes inspection

A long road trip

Team 254B and 254E in a friendly match

Bellarmine VEX Tournament

The 7th Annual Bellarmine VEX Tournament, hosted by Team 254, will be held November 21-22, 2014 project management web app. The event is free for spectators. The best time to watch is from the alliance selection process (3pm Saturday), through the finals, which will finish by 6:30pm.

Information

Changes from Last Year

  • There are more teams competing, so if you can, please get inspected on Friday evening (6 – 8pm). We’ll officially open the pits at 7am and start inspections at 7:15am on Saturday.
  • We will have a photo booth setup with a backdrop for professional looking photos of your robot and/or team. This will be located next to the skills challenge field on the 2nd floor of the Sobrato building.
  • We will have a competition Instagram: Use #BELLVEX in Instagram during the tournament and see your picture appear on displays in the Pits and in Sobrato.

Schedule

Friday, November 21, 2014
6 pm – 8 pm Check-In and Inspection (in Liccardo)
7 pm – 9 pm Practice time for teams
Saturday, November 22, 2014
7:00 am Pit Area and Registration Opens (in Liccardo)
8:00 am Check-in Deadline for teams (at Pit Admin in Liccardo)
7:15 am – 8:30 am Inspection (in Liccardo)
7:30 am – 8:30 am Practice Rounds (in Sobrato Theater)
8:30 am – 8:45 am Driver’s Meeting (in Sobrato Theater)
8:30 am – 9:30 am Sign up for judging interview (at Pit Admin table)
8:45 am Welcome (in Sobrato Theater)
9:00 am – 12:30pm Qualifying Rounds (in Sobrato Theater)
12:30 pm – 1:00 pm Lunch Break (We will have Pizza Order Forms)
1:00 pm – 2:35 pm Qualifying Rounds Continue (in Sobrato Theater)
2:45 pm Alliance Selection Process (in Sobrato Theater)
3:00 pm – 5:30 pm Elimination Rounds (in Sobrato Theater)
~5:30 pm – 6:30 pm Finals, Awards, Closing Ceremony (in Sobrato Theater)

Tournament Location & Parking

Bellarmine College Preparatory 960 W. Hedding St. San Jose, CA 95126

Google Maps

Campus Map

For the competition, the pits are in Liccardo cafeteria and the competition fields in Sobrato theater. These are #6 and #7 on the campus map at: //www.bcp.org/about-us/our-campus/index.aspx.

Street parking is very limited due to permit parking restrictions. There is additional parking by Emory and Stockton streets. Check in with the Pit Admin when you arrive, who will provide you with a map of the tournament facilities.

Northern California VRC Championship Qualifications

We are qualifying 8 teams for the Northern California VRC State Championship:

  • 3 Team Winning Alliance
  • 3 Team Finalists
  • 1 Design Award winner
  • 1 Excellence Award winner

Awards Given

  • Excellence Award
  • Design Award
  • Judges Award
  • Sportsmanship Award

Concessions

We will offer pizza for preorder. Info will be sent in a different email. We will have a few pasta dinners available for Friday night and will be offering snacks and drinks on Saturday.

Information For Competitors

  • If you cannot arrive before close of check-in at 8am, please call or text (preferred): 408-377-5330 or email: blindemann@bcp.org.
  • If you want to be considered for the Excellence or Design awards, you will need to sign up for an interview by 9:30am. Go to the Pit Admin to schedule (or change your appointment time if needed). The interview rooms are on the second floor of the Sobrato Theater building near the swimming pool.
  • The skills challenge field is also on the 2nd floor of the Sobrato theater building. Teams are not limited to the number of attempts, however, any team with fewer than 3 attempts can move ahead of other teams waiting in line.
  • Bring your signed VEX competition waiver, available at: //www.roboticseducation.org/documents/2013/06/vrc-participant-release-form.pdf.
  • Check the match schedule when it is published and make sure you are ready for each match. We try hard to keep matches running on time.
  • Be sure your robot is ready for inspection. Double check the requirements here: //www.roboticseducation.org/documents/2013/06/inspection-checklist-vrc.pdf.
  • Have fully charged batteries for each match.
  • Be sure the drivers and coach have safety glasses when they arrive at the field to compete.
  • Bring a power strip. We should have an outlet within 6′ of your table for you to plug into.
  • WiFi will be available in the pits
  • A Help Desk will be available with a limited supply of parts should anything break or you are unable to pass inspection

Information For Novices

It is highly recommended for you to arrive Friday to go through the inspection and try a couple practice matches. Friday will be much more relaxed and our inspectors will be able to help you through the inspection process. Also, our field managers will be able to guide you through the competition process. Be sure to bring fully charged batteries, chargers, spare parts and tools in case anything breaks. Ensure your VEXnet keys are working well.

Vex logo

DVHS VEX Tournament 2014

Competing and Improving

The Dougherty Valley High School (DVHS) in San Ramon hosted this tournament. The team was pleased to see upon arriving that competition boards were placed in the pit area, and that the location of the pit allowed for very quick switching between matches. Unfortunately none of our sub teams managed to qualify for States, but this competition allowed our robots to be tested for the first time and we used this feedback to repair and upgrade our bots. For example Team 254F lost two matches in qualifications and two in eliminations. The members of Team 254F are now working on improving their intake and looking forward to the next VEX tournament.

DVHSTournament2014-1Team 254G with glorious sub leader Vidur communicating with his sub team

One VEXing Tournament

Thankfully there were no MAJOR technical issues (robots catching fire, exploding, becoming sentient) and all of our teams learned a lot in the competitive process. The tournament was a success! We would like to recognize teams 21D for their excellent design for the high rises, and also 6089, 5776C, 5327A, and many other teams in attendance for challenging us and helping our sub teams to improve their bots. Lastly, many thanks to DVHS for their tasty and very reasonably priced snacks; oh and also for hosting this fun and competitive tournament. And to the VEX teams at the competition, all of us are looking forward to seeing many of you at the Bellarmine VEX tournament this November!

DVHSTourament2014-2Team 254D Driver about to shake hands with some fellow VEX enthusiasts

DVHSTournament2014-3Team 254B watching their bot intently as Tom takes a sly selfie

Stay Cheesy

Chezy Champs: Behind the Scenes

Today teams from across the country gathered to compete in Team 254’s Chezy Champs Aerial Assist competition. After Friday’s hard work setting up the field and teams moving setting up their pits and robots, we’re ready to start a day of competition!

Pre competition hustle

Pre competition hustle

I love the smell of robots in the morning. Starting at 8am this morning, teams were allowed into the pits to start modifying and preparing their robots, and teams entered the Bellarmine gymnasium to stake out spots in the bleachers. And about half an hour later Shockwave was released and tested in the field.

Shockwave showing off for the crowd

Shockwave showing off for the crowd

At 9:30 the opening ceremonies began, introducing our emcee and game announcer, Karthik Kanagasabapathy and Paul Copioli.

Pre game pump up

Pre game pump up

After all teams had staked out seats in the bleachers and the competing robots were in their ready position, at 10am the first match started!

First match autonomous mode begins

First match autonomous mode begins

After match 3 Shockwave decided to come out onto the field to compete with Karthick

SHOCKWAVE ON THE LOOSE!

SHOCKWAVE ON THE LOOSE!

After the first match I decided to take a walk around the facilities. Right behind the arena was the CC swag shop, where t-shirts, sunglasses and other swag were sold.

Two 254 moms manning the swag stand

Two 254 moms manning the swag stand

I became aware that other items such as snap backs, volunteer shirts, and even life sized EJ faces (for the true EJ fans) were available through preorder.

Team 254 member showing his pride with a life-sized EJ face

Team 254 member, Michael Ramstad, showing his pride with a life-sized EJ face

Next to the swag shop were the official Chezy Champs trophies, including the widely coveted golden corn dog for display of GP throughout the tournament.

The glorious golden corn dog and other trophies

The glorious golden corn dog and other trophies

Lastly I headed out to the pit area in Liccardo to check out some of the other teams. At the admin desk, manned by 254’s glorious president Andrew Torrance, I checked in as a CC volunteer and put my super safety glasses on.

Staff surrounding our glorious student leader, Andrew Torrance

Staff surrounding our glorious student leader, Andrew Torrance

The first team I encountered in the pits was the Buchanan Bird Brains, Team 1671. A few members were willing to answer my questions about the tournament and their team:

Q: Where is your team based?

A: Our team is based in Clovis, California. It’s like the little brother of Fresno.

Q: What is the name of your robot?

A: The name of our robot is “Doc 10” because Doc Buchanan is the founder of our team’s high school and 10 because it’s team 1671’s tenth year competing.

Q: What does FRC mean to you?

A: FRC is like the family you never knew you had, and once you’re in the FRC family you never want to leave.

Q: What do you think of the Bellarmine campus?

A: The architecture is beautiful, it honestly looks like a college campus.

After interviewing the Bird Brains, I decided to talk to some of the teams at the other end of the pit. After a few minutes, I found that the Team 4201 pit was open for visitors!

Me (in the blue shirt) taking notes on my interview with a member of team 4201

Me (in the blue shirt) taking notes on my interview with a member of team 4201

Q: Where is your team based?

A: Our team is based in Hawthorne, California near L.A.

Q: What is the name of your robot?

A: The name if our robot is #straightflexin. The # is part of the name, too! And it can’t be spelled out.

Q: What does FRC mean to you?

A: Since our school doesn’t really have any sports teams, this is our school sport. Like I used to play hockey but there was no hockey team. And, FRC is like the engineering version of a varsity sport. So for me it became a substitute for playing on a team in high school. Really it’s just the best thing ever.

Q: What do you think of the campus?

A: The campus is awesome, we really love your copper pipes. The water is so clean!

Next interview was with Team 696, the Circuit Breakers:

Q: Where is your team based?

A: Our team is based in La Crescenta in L.A. county, a little bit north of L.A.

Q: What is the name of your robot?

A: The name of our robot is Snapdragon. We actually have two robots, the one we use to compete is named Snapdragon and the practice bot we call “Snapdragon upside-down.”

Q: What does FRC mean to you?

A: FRC is one big family, once you’re in it helps you to stay connected with people who share your interests.

Q: What do you think of the Bellarmine campus?

Oh this is a high school? I seriously thought we were at a college. Wow, it’s really big.

After interviewing Team 399 I decided to visit the local food trucks for lunch. Outside we had the food trucks “sticks” and “scoops,” and inside food vendors sold everything from muffins to pizza.

Jared must be so proud

Jared must be so proud

After a short food break/nap in the field, I went back to the arena to make sure everything was ok. Everything was going very smoothly, and all the teams seemed to be enjoying themselves. None of our equipment was blowing up, there were no electrical fires, and none of the gaming servers crashed. I’d say that’s a success!

I had a lot of fun meeting and talking to all the different teams, and hope that the guest teams had just as much fun competing in and watching the matches as we did. Thank you to all the teams who showed up, and those who supported us by watching the event live on Twitch.

Go Poofs!

International Vex Summer Games

On July 11th and 12th, members of VEX Team 254D traveled to Hawaii for the new Hawaii International Games tournament. The tournament featured two competitions, one for the old game, Toss Up and one for the new game, Skyrise. The Cheesy Poofs were fortunately able to secure spots in both competitions, entering the robots Scorpion and Qilin. Although the Cheesy Poofs did not fare so well during the qualifications due to various issues in both divisions, top teams recognized the strength of the Poofs. In the Toss Up competition, 254D was selected by the 2nd seeded alliance while in the Skyrise competition, partnering with 359A, the Hawaiian Kids, and 1973A, the Trojanbots. The alliance lost in the quarterfinals to the eventual tournament victor. In the Skyrise Division, 254D was selected by the 5th overall seed, joining 368A, Team Kika Mana, and 1841A, Buff n' Blue 1, again losing during the quarterfinals. Despite the team’s failure to proceed through the quarterfinals, the Cheesy Poofs gained valuable experience and knowledge in designs and strategies for the new Skyrise game that will carry over to the new season.

Late Night Repairs on Scorpion

After-Tournament Fun at Hanauma Bay

IRI 2014 Offseason Regional

IRI Competition

Everyone had a great time at IRI, reconnecting with old friends like 233, 1114, and 2056, meeting new people on different teams, and eating a lot of delicious corn! We went undefeated in our qualifying matches and seeded first, partially due to our powerhouse human player Brandon Wui with his "Jordan" throws into the robot. After choosing our alliance partners Team 1114: Simbotics, 330: The Beachbots, and 2013: Cybergnomes, we moved up the bracket all the way to the Finals, and after 2 very intense matches, we got second place! We were all very happy with our performance and very happy to have been able to attend IRI this year.

Pranks made the event loads of fun, including getting Barrage an awesome claw!

A shot of the stadium and field

Alliance selection with Team 1114

Friday night fun included an awesome laser show featuring 254's logo rearranging itself from "Teh Chezy Pofs" to "The Cheesy Poofs"

Fun in Chicago!

However, our adventures didn't stop with IRI. After the very early first flight to Chicago, our connecting flight got cancelled. At first it looked like we'd be spending 12 hours wandering around Chicago airport, but the mentors decided to make it an adventuring day through the city of Chicago! We took the famous L train into downtown and had some fantastic Chicago style deep dish pizza at the world famous Giordano's Pizza. Next stop was the Bean in downtown Chicago, then finally we found a nice shady patch of grass in which both mentors and students took very needed naps, and some ended up with a little grass on their foreheads. Finally we made it back to the airport and on our plane home. Thank you to all of the teams and staff at IRI for making such a great competition and we hope to be able to go next year!

The team got deep-dish pizza at the world-famous Giordano's Pizzeria!

The team also visited "The Bean" in Millennium Park

Cory needed a much needed nap in Chicago, but things got a bit grassy!