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World Championship: We Made It!

posted Jul 19, 2015, 8:00 PM by Up-A-Creek Robotics   [ updated Jul 19, 2015, 8:02 PM ]

Jake O.
April 30, 2015

I don't think very many students on the team appreciated how quiet things are at 4:00 am in the morning until the Wednesday before Championships. I know that I didn't, but that's one of the many perks of having a flight that leaves at 6:00 am in the morning, the same time that most kids are waking up. But I speak for everyone on the team when I say that we would much rather be on that flight than in bed. It was our departure for our first trip the FRC World Championship, and we were excited enough that you could feel it in the air at 6:00 am in the morning.

We arrived at our hotel in O'Fallon, Illinois just in time to justify invading the local Steak and Shake for lunch. Afterwards, three brave and daring students set up the pit, put together the robot, and got the very first taste of competition while the rest of us waited for load-in to finish. At 5:00 pm we joined 608 other FRC teams in exploring, gawking at, and getting lost in the America Center and Edward Jones Dome. Some us attended a talk given by a mentor on team 1114 (Simbotics) about deciding on a strategy for each year's game which we plan to use during our planning next year.

On Thursday was when the fun really started. We had 4 qualification matches that went very well for us. We also had the opportunity to go and look at some of the other teams there. We got a chance to say hi to our friends that we made at our regionals, as well as meet some new people. Teams came from all over the place.  Just in our group of pits alone there was a team from Canada as well as a team from Israel.

Some retired for the night when we got back to the hotel, but the rest of us still had another five hours to keep the energy up for. About a dozen of us changed into new outfits, ranging from genuinely try-hard really-going-to-prom formal wear, to Doctor Who outfits, to those stylish blue t-shirts we wore earlier that day. We attended Roboprom, a dance hosted by Eagle Robotics. It was a marvel to see, about two thousand people packed into a room with music blaring and a floor oscillating several inches in amplitude. We danced for hours, making memorable moments like the giant conga line, sitting in the middle of the dance circle, and crowd surfing.

When Friday came, we had high expectations, but due to a few flukes during our matches, we dropped our rank. After another 6 matches we ended the qualifications at a still impressive rank of 12th with an average score of 146.

On Saturday, we were given the Excellence in Engineering Award for our automated tote stacking and CATObar mechanisms. We were then picked by the fourth seeded alliance, our partners being 3618, 967, and 3026. Together, we made it into the semifinals, but didn't quite make the cut for finals.

After lunch, we watched the Einstein matches from the nose bleed section of the stands. We also stayed to watch the closing ceremonies and concert, which started with two hours of Andy Caldwell dubsteb, with the bass turned up so high that we could feel it in our arms as well as our ears. The speeches given afterwards were touching and thoughtful an inspirational as always, and afterwards, Chistina Grimme and Boys Like Girls performed. Those of us who sat through the whole thing left around 9:30 pm, and got back to the hotel at 12:00 am.

Over the course of this trip, we netted 1 award, 12th seed, semifinalists, 4 days of crazy, 96 hours of awesome, and a plethora of new friends. I don't know what the game will be next year, but I'm willing to bet a milkshake that we're going to be going to back next year.