As we unbagged our robot, the security of last year’s Pittsburgh regional was replaced with a suspenseful uncertainty. This was a Week 1 regional in Utica, and compared to the year before in Pittsburgh, our robot was complex and unpolished. Nerves were high as we made final adjustments to the grabber arm and fastened decorative side-panelling to the robot. Would the grabber mechanism be able to hold blocks securely enough to score in the scale (the high platform at the center of the field)? Would our autonomous function as well as it had at our week 0 event?
At first the answer to those questions appeared to be no. In our first qualification match we lost, failing to even move during the 15-second autonomous period. Determined to improve on this dismal performance, our team pressed on. As the day and a half of qualifications continued, we began to excel, but still didn’t always win. We were not perfect. Our grabber dropped cubes and we failed to reach the platform at the center of the field by the time the match ended. However, our drive team and robot grew increasingly polished as the weekend continued. We ended qualifications having reliably placed a cube on the switch during autonomous in every match except our first, winning six matches and losing six. The seventh alliance captain in playoffs drafted us to be a part of their alliance. We played against the second alliance in two hard-fought matches but were eliminated in the quarterfinals without winning a playoff match.
Our team was not disheartened. We won three of our last four qualification matches, and our robot had continued to improve over the course of the weekend. All our team-members put their best foot forward, and we are confident we can do even better at the Pittsburgh regional in three weeks. We are incredibly proud of all our team-members for their hard work this build season in building the robot, raising the money necessary to allow us to attend two regionals, and keeping a positive attitude throughout the build season and regionals. Wish us luck over the next two weeks as we prepare for the upcoming Pittsburgh regional!