White Mountain Qualifier – Heber, AZ

The first competition in the new season for our team was a rollercoaster ride for a lack of better terms. Our builders stayed up late Thursday night to finish the robot and continued working on it throughout the competition. Nonetheless, there were various unfortunate issues during the matches. Our robot had problems with the program, could not place our team marker in the depot, and was unable to land from the lander at the beginning of autonomous. In one of the matches, our robot actually flew across the field into the crater and landed on its side as soon as the match began. The entire audience gasped in shock and was even more surprised when our alliance actually won the match. During alliance choosing, there was controversy over sudden ranking changes and many teams were unaware of this. Due to this, the competition coordinators asked the audience if they should redo the alliance picks. Of course, the audience gave the graciously professional answer: Yes. We were graciously chosen by Die Krieger to join their alliance for the semi-finals. Together we competed to the best of our ability but lost in the end. Even though our robot was having difficulties, our team shined in other ways. Our pit was decorated with our display board, sponsor poster, promobot tri-fold, a monitor showing pictures of our Outreach activities, and treats from different countries across the world for other teams (and our own) to enjoy. Our team members danced during the break and interacted with every team at the competition whenever we had the chance. We built a great connection specifically with the Marvels, a new FTC team created through an Islamic Community Center in New Mexico. After the finals, the award ceremony began and it was a great success for us. We won 3rd place in Motivate, 2nd in Connect, and 1st Place in Design. But best of all, we won 2nd place Inspire and qualified for the State Championship. We couldn’t be more grateful. Overall, the competitive environment between other teams was positive and gracious professionalism was integral. The only issue I would present was the obvious tension between our own coaches and team members and the tension within the team in general during the competition. However, we discussed this after returning from Heber and I believe it was a lesson for us to grow from as a team for next time.