Sunday, March 7. 2010
Sorry about the lack of details yesterday – but after such an exciting day, your blogger just hit the wall and needed sleep more than anything!
Today, we have bright sunshine outside and I hope all of Team 1511 has had a chance to get an essential vitamin D recharge!
But to backtrack to yesterday…
The morning started early with the students arriving by bus as close to opening gate time as possible to have a chance to get things moving in the pit, settled for scouting, and have a chance to color hair and paint faces in Rolling Thunder colors and red camo. On the bus they passed around the front page story (Okay, B-section front page) featuring our lovely robot and our drive-team in action! For now, here is a link *link is broken* to the article – 44 schools put robots to the test in regional competition. I’m sure it is because we had the most photogenic robot at the competition!
After opening ceremonies, qualification match play continued from yesterday. We had three matches today:
Match 59 – we won 5 to 2
Match 63 – we lost 0 to 11
Match 70 – we lost 0 to 11
I know it looks like we had a very bad day at this point, but actually the converse was true. Just to totally confuse things this year, FIRST Breakaway game rules included a seeding score calculation that made it advantageous to sometimes all work together to have one alliance score big and that’s what we did in Matches 63 and 70. In Match 63, we actually scored several times for the “wrong” alliance before taking a position to feed balls to the “wrong” side. In Match 70 we defended our own goal so that no shots could be scored for us. The game announcer and color commentator had a great time telling the crowd why it looked like our team had totally lost its marbles! Our strategy paid off and we finished the morning ranked in 5th place, giving us a role as an Alliance Captain for the elimination rounds.
During the morning, team members finished the preparation of the team awards – awards that we give to other teams. It is a fun part of the FIRST tradition. We prepared 7 awards trying to give them a bit of Rolling Thunder “flare” along with a soccer / Breakaway theme. Thanks to Andy’s Mom, Heather, we had fun inflatable soccer balls that the team had decorated with red camo on Thursday and Friday.
Our award recipients:
Goal Tender – Best Defense – Team 191
Striker – Best Kicker – Team 217
Upper 90 – Best Lifter – Team 1507
MVP – Favorite Alliance Partner – Team 1450
MIP – Most Improved – 1551
Halfback – Best Bump Climber – Team 610
Rookie – Favorite Rookie – Team 3162
Another fun part of the day was seeing all of the Rolling Thunder alumni who returned to cheer us on! I hope I don’t miss anyone, in addition to Josh who was refereeing, there was Brenton, Dan, Collin, Cuyler, Jackie, Joe – in the Gorilla costume complete with a chin guard!, Jess, Steve – mentoring Team 229, and Supermom Shelley!
Moving on to Alliance Selection – Becca was our representative on the floor and the picking was tough! It sounded like our pick list were matches to most of the other teams lists. We selected rookie team 3157, the Iron Lancers as our first partner and team 578, Blue Lightning as our 2nd partner. After all 8 alliances were settled, we were ranked as the fourth seeded alliance and got a slight time to break for lunch.
During lunch, the team presented Mentor Kim Eckhardt with a photo book to celebrate and thank her for her 5 years as the founder and leader of our team. Yes, she cried. And then she carried the book around with her everywhere she went for the rest of the day and asked everyone to sign her “yearbook.”
Now let the elimination rounds begin!
Quarterfinals against the 5th seeded alliance went according to our strategy. We won QF match 1 with a score of 8 to 4 and we won QF match 2 with a score of 6 to 2.
On to the semi-finals! We were now playing the Number One seed and we knew the going would be tough. SF match 1 was a total bust. Our robot lost its programming. While the referees gave us enough time to reload the program, they didn’t give us enough time to reconnect with the field and we sat completely disabled fro the entire match. the other two robots tried their best by in the end, Team 3157 received a red card and the score ended up as a 0 to 8 loss. Not to be deterred we regrouped for SF match 2. Balls were flying into the goal and with the help of the Iron Lancers hanging robot we won with a score of 8 to 7. Back into the game, we headed into SF match 3 but were shut down by the other team and lost with a score of 0 to 7. But we were proud of our efforts and could say with pride that we beat – at least for a match – the alliance that went on to win in the finals!
After we were eliminated, we started the final packing of the pit and cleaning up of the stands, while cheering on the teams in the finals. Awards followed soon.
When you are sitting through the awards ceremony, you listen to each description with the hopes of catching one that sounds like your team, but this time award after award was presented to really great and deserving teams but none of them were us. We cheered for the recipients, especially thrilled when the rookies received recognition, when 1126 won Gracious Professionalism since they were our nominee as well and were over the top with excitement when team 1551 “The Grapes of Wrath” received three awards in total!
But in the back of our minds we were reminded that in our history we’ve received awards at each regional and wondered if this would be the regional where we would finally not get an award. That would still be ok, since we know that there are teams that wonder at every regional if this would be the one where they would win any award, and we have definitely won our share. There was a break-through with the Safety award, the team was recognized with an honorable mention and would receive safety pins. Safety Captain, Mike H. was thrilled, and Team 1511 would not go home totally empty handed.
Now it was down to the final team awards, Engineering Inspiration and Chairman’s. The Engineering Inspiration Award presentation began:
“Inspiring others to respect science and technology requires passion, knowledge and commitment. FIRST celebrates these qualities by presenting its Engineering Inspiration Award. This award celebrates a team’s outstanding success in advancing respect and appreciation for engineering and engineers, both within their school, as well as their community. (Standard boilerplate award introduction – now the team specific hints begin)
This team’s goals focus on building their team members and improving life in their community (we do that, but we know that a lot of team do that). They host summer camps, volunteer at FIRST events (we do both of those, so do other teams), visit nursing home residents (hmm…that’s a little specific, at this point I turn and look at Kim. I imagine that Mike Mac sat up a little straighter at this point; coordinating the visits to Atria has been his community service project for two years now), and through partnerships they’ve built with their school, their mentors and their students (ooo, partnerships – that’s a big buzz word in our team literature) they’ve helped many FRC teams and started 38 FLL teams (That’s our count! The team starts buzzing) including one in the Bahamas (Can it be true? Are we really getting this award?)
This year they introduces a VEX robot building activity in the fall to encourage technical learning among their students (Theo – behind me says ‘I told a judge that!’) The team encourages participation by anyone in the school (I heard Crystal tell a judge that!) and boasts a large female representation on the team. 93% of their graduating students go to college for engineering. (The whole team is twitching by now!)
They invade the community with their Thunderbolt (That just sealed the deal!) approach to spread their love for engineering.
The Engineering Inspiration Award goes to Team 1511, Rolling Thunder!”
The Thunder erupts! We have won the Engineering Inspiration Award! Shocked, amazed, thrilled we make our way to the field to accept silver medals and the trophies for the award! High fives to the judges! Then on cloud nine we return to our seats to hear the announcement of the Dean’s list nominees and the Chairman’s Award winners! Congrats to Team 340, GRR for another Chairman’s award! That makes three in a row for them, and 5 out of the last 6 years at Finger Lakes! And this ends the 2010 Finger Lakes Regional!
And on to Boston!
Posted by Cynette Cavaliere