Here we are in Washington D.C.! The advance crew has finished the practice day and is settled in their rooms for the night. The charter bus with the rest of the team is about an hour away. Tomorrow the whole force of Rolling Thunder will invade the Convention Center in downtown D.C.!
The advanced crew had quite a journey down last night. Rochester and much of the north east (actually I think it went as far as Chicago!) experienced a Spring "Winter" storm starting on Wednesday morning, so by the time the team headed south after school, there was a few inches of snow on the ground. The main caravan included 6 cars with Mentors Eric, Amy, Jeff and Gaffei starting a bit earlier with the trailer and one lagging vehicle with a few of the late-leaving mentors. During the trip we hit snow, freezing rain, sleet and finally rain with a thunderstorm. When the lightning flashed just south of Williamsport, Mike Mo's voice came over the walkie talkie, "There is the lightning, here comes the Thunder!"
As we made our approach to Washington, we had a view of the Washington Monument (at 11:00 - that's a direction, not a time), we discovered just a tad bit late that our exit was closed. So we took and unexpected tour across the Potomac River and saw the Jefferson Monument and glimpsed several other monuments. After we turned around, we finally reached our destination, checked in and headed to our rooms.
Today started earlie with the team gathering to leave at 6:30 am. Most of the students headed to MacDonalds for breakfast, to save money for later. A crew of students went with the load in crew to unload the trailer, bring in the robot - sleeping in its bag, and get started on the pit set up. A new and improved pit set up that is. The rest of us stood outside in the cold (relatively - it wasn't snow. :) ) until they let us in at 8:00 and finally into the field area at 8:30 am.
The place is SMALL, but the pits are spacious. We got the scouting system set up in the arena space, while the pit was set up and the work on the robot begun. We needed to install a new manipulator and a new deployer for our new very tiny minibot. As always it seemed to take too long as we were anxious to get Thunderous Prime onto the practice field. At the same time the team spread out to help as many other teams as needed to get their robots ready. By the end of the day, we had completed our repairs, tested the mini-bot a few times, hung an uber tube in autonomous and come oh so close a few other times and helped a whole slew of teams, some just a bit and some quite a lot. We got to meet the local Rolling Thunder Robotics team and look forward to cheering for them tomorrow. We also did a session at the showcase giving teams a chance to come learn about our patron drive, leadership boot camp and how to run FLL events.
The whole team was busy, we really could have used a few more of us, so we will look forward to tomorrrow when we are all together!
Oh! today was Mentor Leann's birthday! Happy Birthday, Leann! We celebrated with cake and ice cream during our evening team meeting!
The one thing I know for sure about competition is that it is EXHAUSTING!
It is now Saturday night after our first competition for the 2011 season. I promised I could get a brief synopsis in of the competition and let others fill in more details tomorrow after a bit of rest.
Friday was a long day! After having so much trouble on the field on Practice Day, the field seemed to run fairly well. We dove into our qualification matches with great enthusiasm! And by the end of the day, we were somehow ranked 4th. The robot needed repairs and tweaks during the day, autonomous mode seemed elusive and the mini-bot wasn't as consistent as we wished it was. The drive team got some much needed experience managing Thunderous Prime, but still weren't having an easy time of it.
In the evening the strategy team spend several hours reviewing all of the other team's results, which pretty much meant none of us had any energy left to blog.
Today we had two final qualification matches. Unfortunately we lost both of them although the drive teams seemed much more comfortable driving the robot.
During alliance selections we were selected by one of the Rookie Teams, 3799 which made us part of the 5th place alliance. W didn't make it out of the quarterfinals, but were treated to some great matches by semifinalist and finalist teams!
During the matches we were presented with one of the Top 4 Safety Team awards in the pit. Go Mike Mo., this year's safety captain. He did a great job representing our team!
At the awards ceremony, 1511 received the Gracious Professionalism Award! We then capped the ceremony by having one of our Juniors, Jason, recognized as a Dean's List Finalist!
Well, that's the news! More details should follow. If we catch up on our sleep that is!
Can you believe it? It's week one of regionals, and we've been so psyched to be here with 43 other FRC teams! It was an early morning for our pit and drive crew who arrived at RIT around 8am. The pit was setup with a new addition of our FLL sponsorship banner that overhangs our pit backing! Thanks to Amy A who put all of that together (it has a splash of all our FLL team's t-shirt designs)! Robots were in and out of pits and shortly after lunch everyone had been inspected and approved, whoo hoo!
We saw our friendly away from home "Thunder Members" Tall Rob, Dan and Jen! Many of our friends and family stopped in today too to check things out!
Sadly enough, practice matches never started running until about 5pm because of a poor radio connection mishap, so the practice field was booked all day and FRC team members of all colored flare practiced pitching their tubes (apparently it's more effective to throw backwards sometimes, believe it or not)!
Lunch consisted of delicious boxed wraps that came with a soda, chips or cookies and a fruit piece... yummy!
1511 rushed to several different teams today to help out, and we've provided well or 15 help services to teams! Those are some serious Thunderbolts!
We tweeted all day, and some of our friends and family checked out the webcast that Time Warner is broadcasting through the Rochester City School District website! Whoo hoo!
Thunderous Prime has been working pretty well all day, and well, we'd say he's a great success! Our first match went over extremely well with a logo scored high and one mid tube! We've yet to see an ubertube be placed though in autonomous.
By the end of the night, Prime frayed a bit as his manipulator width grew! So we had to make a few modifications to re-fit and size to the 84" envelope. We managed to fit in one match after that and did a rather decent job again.
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.