Today, we competed in the Minnesota FIRST Tech Challenge State Championship Tournament. We competed last night as well – our judging and inspections were last night. We were very happy with our judging session. We thought we were able to engage the judges well and got all of the information that we wanted to share into the time limit. They asked us many questions and were very welcoming and fun judges. It really helped us because we didn’t feel nearly as nervous!
After judging, we went to inspections. This is where we ran into our first problem of the tournament. Turns out, our robot couldn’t quite fit into the 18” cube. To fix this, we had to bend a rod that we use in our climber depositor mechanism slightly. Then, we were able to fit in the box. We decided we would check our autonomous later to see if this change affected it at all. Then, the next problem we ran into was with our red and blue flashing lights. The inspectors needed to double check a rule before they could pass us but eventually, we did pass! We were very excited – the first part of the tournament was done and we could go back and rest now.
The next morning (this morning), we went to the drivers’ meeting right away and then got the schedule for the day of qualification matches. We had lots of fun alliance teams all day. We enjoyed getting to know teams better. Every tournament is so much fun just because you get to be better and better friends with some teams and then meet the teams that you haven’t run into anymore. It is our favorite part of FTC, especially comparing to FLL. In FLL, you are focused on your team throughout the tournament day. But in FTC, you are constantly working with, watching, cheering for, helping out, and otherwise interacting with other teams all day.
We had a lot of our sponsors and supporters come to watch us today! Machining Technologies’ CEO came to watch us – he (Laurent) has come to two of our tournaments now this season. He brought his kids and we showed them the robot. The little girl (probably 4 years old) kept asking “what’s that?” and pointing at little pieces on the robot. His dad, Patrick, also came to support!They thought it was hilarious that we name the robot Steve. We also had Aster Labs there to support us. Kale and Chuck came to watch us. Chuck came for qualification matches and Kale came for eliminations. Also, our mentee team, FLL “The Diamonds,” came to check out our runs and learn more about FTC. They will be graduating up to FTC from FLL next year!
Throughout the day, we were happy to welcome many judges into our pit. Many of these judges were people we have had many times before. It was great to see them and say hi again. When they asked us questions about our robot, outreach, and other aspects of our season, we were able to answer them all. Overall, we were very happy with the day so far. Eventually, we got to alliance selections and were honored to be the first pick of the first seed alliance captain “The Q is Silqent.” This was a huge honor for us. We added the team “Conspiracy Theory” as our second pick. It made for a great alliance pairing and a really fun afternoon. Our alliance put up the high score for the state of MN! It was a blast. We didn’t make it all the way but we ended up as Division Finalists for the day.
Finally came the awards ceremony. We are proud to announce that our team member, John, won one of the Stratasys scholarships for his work on our team. As a team, we were Division Finalists, 1st Place PTC Design winners, and 3rd Place Inspire winners. With this, we qualified for the North Super Regional tournament in Cedar Rapids, Iowa. We are so thrilled to be going to this tournament for the second time.
To top off the day, we celebrated at Culvers (as per usual Height Differential style). Overall, it was a great day. Here goes another month of crazy, robot fun!