For the longest time it looked like I would be unable to give to you Crystal's perspective on the final day of the Boston Regional. But she has pulled it together for me! I will interject here and there on this one!
Day Four – BREAKAWAY!!
While the event is a blur in my head now, and no longer fresh in my mind, I’ll still try my best to fill those empty spots in.
It was about 7-7:05am when everyone met down in the lobby with all their belongings that they had brought with them. We all wheeled up on our bus and drove for the last time, through the busy Boston traffic.
The day started just like the morning before; getting our bags checked, waiting 15 minutes in the lobby, cheering for the staff and other teams. The storm had already hit the arena. This time, there were no hair up-dos, no spiking, and certainly NO straightners!
Opening ceremonies were very brief on Saturday, and the final qualification matches were underway quickly. Kristina and Mentor Sharon took the time to prepare the team awards - our camo decorated inflatable soccer balls. Our award recipients: Goal Tender - Best Defense - Team 97 Striker - Best Kicker - Team 2084 Upper 90 - Best Lifter - Team 1403 MVP - Favorite Alliance Partner - Team 467 MIP - Most Improved - 2888 Dribbler - Best Under the Tunnel - 2590 Halfback - Best Bump Climber - Team 3148 Rookie - Favorite Rookie - Team 3280 A large contingent of students, accompanied by Mentor Bear as the photographer, headed to the pits to distribute the awards.
We started the day in first place, but wavered throughout the morning based on other teams results. After our final two matches, we were seeded 2nd and Theo was selected to make the alliance selections.
Everyone was nervous throughout the day for the upcoming awards ceremony, but when the Thunder and lightening struck on the field with several successful wins, everyone’s minds were drawn to cheering and shouting to support the team! We even had alumni Rika Lee and Mark Mascadri join us!
It was phenomenal for our drive team to make it all the way to Finals! Alliance Captain, Theo Matt directed the alliance selections. 1511 allied with Brazilian team 383, and a Maine team, 2648! (We lost our first Final's match by one point - unfortunately Thunderfoot had not climbed to his full height and we missed out on bonus points.) Our last competing match was a score of 12 to 11 favoring the opposing alliance. It was an intense last match as the scores climbed and climbed. Congratulations to the winners: Team 88, Team 1922, and Team 1768!
That wasn’t the end of our day though. For sure, we knew we had the Regional Finalist medal coming.
The crowd went quiet as our emcee re-appeared in a tux. He welcomed us to the regional awards ceremony, and called Dean Kamen to the podium. Dean, spoke to us about our future, his vision. He told us about the new Dean’s List award, informed us of his family story.
Then the awards ceremony proceeded…. With many poems. It was silent… and there wasn’t a squeak in the room until team after team was called.
The team was called for the Top 3 Safe teams (Mike H's record as safety captain is still perfect - Top 3 at every regional!), Cooperition Award (tied with the 1st seeded alliance, HYPER Team 69), and Regional Finalist Award.
And then came the first moment that the team was waiting for – not Chairman’s just yet, but the Dean’s List. The arena was quiet… and 1511 members had their fingers crossed. From there, everything was a jolt as they called student leader Crystal Vongnaphone as one of the Dean’s List Semi-finalists!!! The team jumped in excitement and tackled Crystal in the stands until she dashed down to receive her certificate from Dean and Woodie themselves! (My version - The team erupted! I couldn’t really see Crystal at first but by the time they got her to the aisle, she stopped, put her face into her hands and started crying. Then as the team started cheering, CRYSTAL! CRYSTAL! CRYSTAL!, she bolted down the stairs (with our photographer trying to dash after her from about 5 rows up). When she got to the entrance the other winner, a young man from one of the teams from our finalist alliance, Blake Bourque, Team 2648, was waiting for her. They congratulated each other and she let him go first, which was good because when she got to Dean they seemed to have this very long conversation.)
I could see the sincerity within each and every judge and refs eye. I knew they were watching me, and I knew they had kept a close watch. The entire day, I was just so nervous thinking about it at every minute. When they actually announced my name, I could not believe it! I was in tears! My eyes just flooded as I went down and shook each and ever person's hand. Dean, gave me a hug and that moment was captured by both mentor John Hall and teacher advisor, Mr. Weisbrod! Thank you!!
Little did Crystal know, she’d be joined by her team as soon as she got to the top of the stairs… By the time we got her back upstairs, as we were in the nosebleed seats, she had time for a quick photo with her Mom and just a few hugs before they started the Chairman’s announcements. A poem...
“We all know FIRST's a marvelous thing, That gives us each back more than we bring. The many fine works of this fine team Show all who see what FIRST can mean.
They teach, they strive, they ignite the sparks That spread FIRST’s message in widening arcs Across the globe, and around the corner. This team attracts great awe and honor.
A robot could be nuts and bolts, But inspired by sponsors, kids and coaches, This team's power can reach so high That their energy can light the sky.
Now, if this poem has made you wonder, Just wait, and you will HEAR THE THUNDER."
Midway through, you could begin to hear the sobs of our team members and the enduring squeaks that just wanted to become screams of joy! There were many shedded tears of joy as the team jumped up and hugged each other. We could even hear the echo of our Thunder in the stands next to us as the Duct Tape Bandits cheered for us. After they announced our team, we went up to the main hallway to get to the next down stairway and in the hall way we were just a jumble of piles of hugs. It was a cool almost private moment before we all entered the arena again.
Mr. Weisbrod thought Crystal might have been in some serious shock having cried so much over the team’s success and her own, knowing that all her hard work has been rewarded in the highest honor possible!
The team will now go to Atlanta with high hopes of Chairman’s at Championships, a kickin' robot ready for more competition, and for Crystal, the chance of becoming a Dean’s list Finalist!
No one wanted to go home, or leave the arena. No one wanted to stop enjoying the wondrous time we will remember – no one wanted to leave Boston.
Dean, Woodie – Thank you!
The bus ride was long, and everyone slept. We didn’t get home to about 2am. We stopped and had McDonalds, salads, sandwiches and pizzas.
Before leaving the school we draped the Chairman’s banner over Mr. Brewer’s desk, and placed our trophies beside that blue piece of pride that we hold our heads high for.
A thanks is in order to all our friends, family and alumni who were able to capture these amazing moments in time, and were able to support us throughout the entire trip!
Welcome to the blog of Rolling Thunder, FIRST Robotics team 1511. The team is from Penfield High School in Penfield, New York and mainly sponsored by Harris Corp. To find out more about the team and FIRST, please visit the Who We Are page.