This past weekend, February 28 – March 2, Raider Robotix competed in our first official event of the 2014 competition season.
In the week leading up to the MAR Hatboro-Horsham District Competition, there was some online buzz about how Team 25 would perform. On ChiefDelphi, Looking Forward, notorious for his event predictions, mentioned us twice. On the new online webshow, FRC Game Sense, four out of the show’s five hosts predicted Team 25 would either seed first at the event or be part of the winning alliance. We felt confident in our robot and design strategy coming into the event (that our new driver also had three weeks of practice under his belt helped too).
In typical Raider Robotix fashion, we encountered transportation issues on the way to the event. Unlike our battery cart falling off of a bus onto the NJ Turnpike in 2007, running out of gas on the way to kickoff in 2008, or having a bus break down on the way to Championships in 2012, this time the battery in the truck we rented to transport the robot to the competition had died.
Once the robot finally arrived at the event, we set up our pit display, which included a new pit banner and a 7% scale 3-D printed model of our robot. Our pit was located right next to the robot inspection station, so we received a lot of attention from all of the teams passing by. In the room full of robots with catapults and other launchers, our dedicated catching robot stood out in a good way. We happily demoed the robot’s functions to everyone who asked.
In our practice matches Saturday morning, we performed two successful catches and felt good heading into the qualification rounds. Unfortunately since this was a week one event, there were a variety of field issues and inconsistent referee calls. After playing 12 qualification matches, we had a 6-6 record and were ranked 16th out of the 40 teams attending. Ignoring the field issues that decided the outcome of several of our matches, we all believed we played and strategized well enough to be a top pick during the alliance selections. Our friends on Team 1647, the Iron Devils from Tabernacle, NJ, seeded third and selected us as their first round draft pick. We then rounded out our alliance with Team 2234 from Newtown Square, PA.
We swept the quarterfinals in two matches, posting the highest scores in the series. In the first quarterfinal match, our robot caught two balls, one of which was a last second buzzer beater! In the video below, you can hear the crowd erupt in excitement!
We then went on to win our semifinals in two matches, advancing us to the finals to play against the number 1 alliance consisting of Teams 2590, 341, and 272. In the finals our alliance partners experienced some mechanical difficulties that prevented us from playing to our full potential and we lost in two matches. However, the powerful #1 alliance was very deserving and we congratulate them on the win!
In addition to winning the District Finalist award at the competition, we were ecstatic to have been selected by the judges as recipients of the District Engineering Inspiration Award! The Engineering Inspiration award “Celebrates outstanding success in advancing respect and appreciation for engineering within a team’s school and community” and is one of the top honors in FIRST. Our team will go on to compete against the five other MAR Engineering Inspiration Award winners at the MAR Championship held at Lehigh University in April. We also received a peer “Stormie” award from Team 2729, STORM Robotics, for our robot’s creative design.
Our next competition is March 22-23 at Seneca High School in Tabernacle, NJ.