Rachel was a pit crew baby this year (she’s never done pit crew before), and this is what she had to say about IRI Pits: “It felt really good to feel like I was involved in the robot in competition!”
Julia was a hard-timing scouter this year, with me! “I’m glad I scouted for nine hours straight because I got to see all the amazing robots.” I’m just impressed she can find a bright side to that.
Jordan is in charge of our 3D prosthetic hand printing, as well as our human player position. This is what he said: “Andy Baker remembered me – ‘nuff said.” For a bit of a back story, back in our Toronto Regional, Jordan met Andy Baker and talked about prosthetic hand printing for abut ten minutes. Three months later, Andy Baker remembered Jordan and Jordan had a bit of a fan girl moment.
Geoff, our head pit crew student, had this to say about pit crew: “Everything broke and then we fixed it; also, peanut butter tastes surprisingly good on bison burgers.” Well, that’s my brother for you in a nut shell.
Austin is our student Coach, and he stated: “I had an amazing time SCALING the rankings, and we did great considering the LOW BAR we set for ourselves.”
Casey, our driver: “We finally git gud, and we played excellence defense.” This is one of the reasons why we pay him to drive the robot and not write the blog posts.
Andrew, our Auxiliary driver: “It was nice when in pre-match we didn’t have to tell the other teams what to do, and everyone agreed on what the correct strategy was.”
Ian, our other scouter, says, “Shirts. Shirts everywhere.”
Aaron, our electrical pit crew member, says, "BOMBSQUAD ROCKETEERS LARGE BUILDING AMAZING TEAMS BEHIND SCHEDULE 6-stack for the win!"
Zack, my other senior buddy who technically already graduated, had this to say about our AMAZING last competition together with the team, “The scaler broke many times, but it worked in the end.”
Calvin, my other pit crew buddy, says, “It was really amazing to see the best of the best, and to be considered one of them was such an honor.”
Me, of course, forgot to put myself into the quote list, and I have THIS to say about IRI: “My final competition was spent on a hard bench with no back scouting for ten hours straight, and I REGRET NOTHING. Being strategy lead was fun. :D”
We are missing one member: Ethan, because they were not at the meeting where I collected these wonderful pieces of art.
The IRI – The Indiana Robotics Invitational. After twelve years of building robots, Team 1511, Rolling Thunder finally got a chance to compete at what many consider to be the most competitive off-season in the world of FIRST (Yes, even more prestigious than Ruckus. Which is, by the way, the 29th of October, 2016. Find us at the Main Street Armory in Rochester, NY).
Our competition started out at six-thirty in the morning on Thursday, so we could leave as early as possible for the ten hours’ drive to Indianapolis. Was the drive fun? Not really. Did we catch lots of Pokémon at the rest stops, OF COURSE?!
We had amazing Mexican food Thursday night, where Zack, Austin, Geoff and I ate the three hottest hot sauces that the restaurant had to offer. Austin was more adventurous, and combined the top five hottest, poured it onto his burrito, and then proceeded to cry while eating said burrito, but they were tears of manliness and determination, my friends. Jordan had a taco that he claimed to be the best taco of his life, and Calvin stared at us all like we were crazy. Many tubes of sour cream and glasses of iced tea were consumed that night, pro bono from the restaurant, because they all agreed with Calvin that we were crazy. It was a good night.
Our team managed to put together a whopping total of 12 backpacks. When you realize that only 13 students went, that’s a pretty cool number. All of the backpacks included things like rulers, notebooks, pens, pencils, and coloring equipment for elementary students. The backpack drive is a charity drive that IRI holds every year.
Qualification matches started at 10:30 am the next day, and our first match was incredible! We scaled in under three second, won the match, and got four ranking points. Sadly, after that, our scaler’s motor disengaged, no longer worked, and we plummeted in the ranks. We had fun anyway.
That night was a finale, fit for FIRST kings and queens. We were treated to Dean Simmons and the Kamen Brothers, and a cool laser light show! They’re an incredible band that takes pop songs and classic rock songs and turns them into Heavy metal FIRST covers. In Casey’s words, “I’ve never cringed so much in my life.” Geoff says, “They were good at playing, good at singing, very creative, but they weren’t good at putting the right number of syllables in their sentences.” In my words, “IT WAS AMAZING.” But then again, I am the colorful metal head of this team.
Friday brought more qualification matches, and a higher standing in the rankings. We ended qualifications at 37th out of 69th, and we’re pretty happy with that. Our first time at the competition, and we ranked about smack dab in the middle. That ain’t bad. We weren’t chosen for eliminations, but that was okay, because that meant we could all take a corn break and go outside to eat the corn that Team 1024 graciously provided at their corn cookout fundraiser.
Backstory: Apparently, in Indiana, it is very common to have corn cookouts at big events. We can no longer eat New York corn without being slightly sad. We spoke with the locals (Team 1024) and asked them if the cookout was a normal thing. They said, “Of course! You should see our state fair. It’s centered around corn and fried stuff.” I thought this was strange, until Jordan pointed out, “Well, our state fair is centered around chocolate milk and potatoes.”
He is very right.
That night, we ate dinner at a local restaurant (the bison burgers were certainly interesting, especially when covered in peanut butter), and we walked back to the hotel to give one of our parent-mentors a birthday cake. He didn’t know it was coming, and we sang happy birthday 1511 style in the middle of the hotel lobby. This was great. Personally, I was surprised that we didn’t get kicked out.
We spent an extra night, and drove home at 7 am on Sunday. We slept for most of the ride home. It was also great.
For Zack and I, this was our last competition with our team. We both joined four long (but very short) years ago as Freshman, and we both think we ended this year with a bang. Not only did we make it to the Einstein field for the first time in our team’s history, but we also made it to IRI, and then ranked reasonably well. Our robot was robust, our drive team was efficient, and the scouters were more dedicated than ever.
I’m very proud of this team.
This will be my last blog post, and I hope that you’ve enjoyed the fun we’ve had together over the past four years. I pass my torch on to Katie now, and I know that she’ll do amazingly.
It’s been real, FIRST. And for 1511, one more thing: I expect to see you on Einstein again, and I’ll be watching from my dorm room. I’ll be cheering with you, and my roommates will probably hate me for it.
-Recently graduated, now Alumna blogger KT
Rolling Thunder's IRI Crew with the Donated Backpacks!
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.