Day 3 of the competition is split into two parts. In the morning, teams complete their qualifying matches. In the afternoon, the high-ranking teams and their chosen alliance partners move on to the final matches.
This day, being a Saturday, features a much bigger public attendance — families, friends, sponsors, and students who can’t make it to the Friday session all show up. The stands and the pits are packed with zillions of interested and enthusiastic spectators. It’s like a huge carnival or state fair, and it’s all about engineering!
I love the atmosphere and the crowds and supporters, although at times I felt as if my job at the pit was to keep people out of it, so that the pit crew could work on the robot in between matches safely and with some room to breathe.
We gave out most of the thousand buttons that the team made, and it was great to see so many IronRiders t-shirts in the crowd, especially when there was a whole section of the stands with them visible. That’s really the mark of growth of a team — its image getting out there as its robot gets better and better.
Roosevelt principal Mr. Vance came out with his kids to hang out with the team, as did Assistant Principal Ms. Schwentor. Everyone really appreciated their support, as well as that of many, many parents and families who cheered us on.
Here’s an impromptu team picture with Mr. Vance, although not all team members were at the pit at that moment. (Thanks, Judson!)
The robot and the team performed wonderfully. Our three remaining qualifying matches were really solid, with a variety of offensive and defensive strategies. Autonomous mode yielded some points, as did tele-op loading/shooting. There was some good defense in one match against eventual winner Skunkworks (Team 948). And our climbing was nearly flawless in every attempt.
There seemed to be far fewer hardware repairs in between matches than yesterday, and a lot of scouting strategy in evidence.
We didn’t get picked for a final alliance, but we placed 33rd out of 64 teams. As mentor John said, this is a big success since it was a significant improvement from last year. Progress in the right direction is great. It takes years for a new team to build up the experience and skills to advance up the ladder.
We saw lot of learning and great teamwork and student leadership this year. It was a great season, for sure. With the beginning of the off-season this week, we’ll celebrate our successes, debrief on the season, and make plans for an even better 2014 season.
Personally, I couldn’t be prouder of the Iron Riders and I know I speak for all of the coaches and mentors and supporters in saying what a completely awesome group is Team 4180!
Go, Iron Riders!
Here are the videos for the final 3 qualifying matches.