After our performances at the Hatboro-Horsham and Lenape-Seneca district events, Raider Robotix ranked 13th overall out of the 110 teams competing in the Mid-Atlantic district. Going into the MAR District Championship, held at Lehigh University from April 10-12, we knew we had to be on top of our game in order to qualify for the FRC World Championship to be held in St. Louis, MO two weeks later. Eighteen teams from MAR would go on to attend the world championship based on awards won at the MAR Championship and the final district point rankings. Winning the Engineering Inspiration award at the Hatboro-Horsham district event qualified us as one of six teams to compete to win the same award at the MAR Championship.
By the end of the qualification matches on Saturday morning, we had a 7-5-0 record and found ourselves ranked 16th, once again having amassed the most assist points of any team at the competition. Some other highlights from the qualification rounds included:
When alliance selections came around, we were the first pick of the 6th seeded alliance, captained by team 56, Robbe Xtreme. Our teams then selected team 1279, Cold Fusion, to round out our alliance with their two ball autonomous mode and long, lofty truss shot.
Unfortunately the third seeded alliance edged us out in the quarterfinals, winning the second match by a mere margin of 13 points. Though we were eliminated from the tournament, we garnered enough points via our qualifying match wins and alliance selection to be in contention as one of the teams to qualify for St. Louis via the district point rankings. Judges had been visiting our team’s pit all weekend, so we were hopeful that we might have won a technical award, which would give us just enough points to secure a spot in the MAR top 12.
After the 7th seeded alliance of team 2590, 11, and 341 beat out 1089, 193, and 484 in the finals, we sat anxiously on the edge of our seats during the awards ceremony. As all the robot design awards were handed out, we did not hear our team’s name announced. Then the judges started to read the description of the first of MAR’s two Engineering Inspiration Award winners. They began to describe a program that was bringing hands-on STEM activities to elementary school classrooms, which sounded very much like our Parson’s Elite program. We erupted with excitement as the judge’s announced the award went to one “catchy” team, Raider Robotix!
Winning Engineering Inspiration at the MAR District Championship automatically qualified us to attend the World Championship in St. Louis (we also ended up ranked 11th overall within MAR). With flights and hotels quickly booked, we made the journey to the midwest two weeks later.
At the World Championship, our team was assigned to the Newton division, which we previously won twice before in 2006 and 2011
At the end of the qualification rounds at the world championship, we ranked 23rd out of 100 teams in our division with a 6-4-0 record, and the 6th most assist points. Our team also had the second lowest cumulative teleoperated score. This statistic, when compared to our other stats, highlighted the effectiveness of the low goal/assisting specialist strategy we played.
During alliance selections, we were drafted as the second selection of the 7th seeded alliance, the 10th overall pick. We joined an alliance with teams 4039, MakeShift Robotics from Hamilton, Ontario, and 3539, the Byting Bulldogs from Romeo, Michigan. 4039’s captain explained to the alliance how they selected us because no matter where the game ball was, we were always able to fight our way through field traffic and acquire it. For the elimination rounds, we took on the role of inbounder and defender. After initially receiving the ball from a human player (made easier by the giant target of our catching net), we would pass the ball off to 3539 and then play defense against the opposing alliance’s main scorer. In the quarterfinals, we faced the second seeded alliance, which included our friends and alliance partners from when we won the World Championship in 2012, Team 16 – The Bomb Squad. After three intense matches, the third including a record setting number of fouls on both sides, our alliance emerged victorious and moved on to the semifinals. After losing the first match (by 27 points), we came back strong in the second and won 215-151, forcing a third match. The outcome of the final round was 171-147 in our opponent’s favor.
However, this year there was also a new award structure at the championship, where technical awards were given out at the division level instead. We were honored and delighted to have won our division’s Creativity Award sponsored by Xerox for our unique strategy of play and catching ability!