Turn of Events

Our thanks to the FRC team “Coconuts” and the Northern Arizona University (NAU) for hosting and organizing the event over the last years.

We are leaving the warm Valley of the Sun to travel to the freezing and snowy Flagstaff in Arizona. In general, this is a 2 1/2 hour trip only this time the forecast promise heavy snowfall. On the halfway point, we hear on the radio that the I-17 to Flagstaff is closed due to an accident. We are taking a quick break, grab some food and read that the road is open again. We are continuing towards Flagstaff and see spectacular cloud formations. While approaching Flagstaff, the road conditions are getting worse, and the massive snowfall is slowing down traffic to a crawling 25 mph (better late than never). The visibility is less than 300 feet. The original plan was – like last year – to arrive before 5 pm; we reach our final destination at 7 pm. Several of our friends are already there and set up camp. The team is setting up the pit in no time, and with the additional lighting, the travel path for the team members comes to life.  

The pits are closing at 8:30 with lots of teams still stuck in traffic dues to an additional road closure – poor folks. Next morning, most teams arrived and had their robot inspected. 42 teams in 2 divisions, competing for the top qualification spots. Our first game has a bad start, we select the incorrect autonomous (85 points not done) and we are not awarded the 20 points on the balance board. The team ranking is based on Qualification points (QP) which is 2 for winning, 1 for tie, and and 0 for loosing. All four teams are awarded also ranking points which are based on the points collected by the loosing alliance. Additional ranking points are essential for team rankings. The team captain asked for clarification about our score which is revised from 44 to 64 – not a good start when our robot alone should contribute between 130 and 150 points for the alliance. I talked with other coaches about the situation and on suggestion is to have each team sign the scoring sheet at the end of each game as it is done in other competitions including FTC. I suggested this change in the games to the FTC partner to avid questions after the results are posted. The 3rd game is against Rise of Hephaestus (#4216) which has the best robot at this competition. After our 6 qualification matches, we rank number 5 – not bad considering the failure in the 1st game. Team Viper (#11980) invites us to their alliance after Valley-X (#2844) declines the invitation. This is a long overdue rematch of two neighboring robotics teams. Team Viper and we are winning the semi-finals – no questions asked. As expected, we are loosing against Rise in the division finals. And without a special award, this marks the end of our otherwise successful journey this year.

Over the last years, the number of FIRST FTC robotics teams grew in Arizona and we can send now six teams to the Western Championship Tournament in Spokane, WA.
Rise of Hephaestus already qualifies last weekend and therefore in addition to the three inspire and winning championship alliance teams additional teams fill the six spots.

  • FIRST Inspire Award Winner (Odyssey Automatons (#6174))
  • Winning Alliance Captain (Rise of Hephaestus (#4216))
  • FIRST Inspire Award second place (Rise of Hephaestus (#4216))
  • Winning Alliance first pick (The Dragons (#10523))
  • FIRST Inspire Award third place (Jaegers (#8995))
  • Winning Alliance second pick (Juggerbots (#12892))
  • Think Award Winner (Rise of Hephaestus (#4216))
  • Finalist Alliance Captain (Knights of the Lab Table (#8081))
  • Connect Award Winner (Paragon Panthers (#12241))

This is the second time we qualify for the Western Championship Tournament