White Mountain Qualifier: Here We Come


This season started with an additional time crunch. The Jaegers hosted the first FIRST Tech Challenge qualifier competition in Arizona this year, in Heber-Overgaard in the White Mountains. It was one week earlier than the first qualifier last year, and it was our first competition this year.

With our usual procrastination, we barely finished the robot late on Thursday night, the day before the competition. We packed up the rest of our gear and loaded it into cars on Friday. The Robot left first and arrived 3 hours ahead of the rest of the team at the competitions site – not by self-driving there I must admit. After the rest of the team arrived, we  set up our pit area with our traditional display and a new addition – the Panther. The pit closed at 8:30 pm and we took the robot with us to the hotel so that we could keep working on it until the early morning hours.

On Saturday morning, we were greeted by an invigorating 23F (or -5C). Thanks to the hotel manager for setting up an early breakfast; the pits opened at 7am and breakfast usually starts at the same time. We needed to finish the robot. Our focus this year included the judging sessions as well as the judge’s interviews during the day. We spent extra time on Friday to polish the notebook by adding 3D design printouts. They looked really nice. We enhanced our pit area with  international candy and cookies from our home countries to share, and added cute little carved aliens that matched our alien giveaways to other teams.  The outreach team went above and beyond to explain the robot and our international teams’ origin.

This competition was the first in the nation to use the new live scoring system. It had a rocky start, just like some of the robots including our own. In theory we can release the robot and lift it up at the end. We tested these features before we left and they seemed to work, but when we tried it on Saturday morning it wasn’t reliable (and the gears made some nasty noises) so we abandoned this feature for the entire competition.

Our first game of the qualification round was with Beep Patrol who scored most of the points while we contributed some 20 – 30 points by playing soccer with the board elements and scored the end game points by entering the crater. Thank you, Beep Patrol.

Out robot was the only one that actually achieved lift-off, and became airborne as it entered the crater. Unfortunately, the robot landed on its side and was unable to move any further, but  we were fully inside the crater and scored an additional 25 points in the end game – sweet.

We were chosen by the 4th alliance captain, Die Krieger (literally: The Warriors) from New Mexico, as their partner for the semi finals but our alliance did not advance to the finals.

At the award ceremony, we receive four awards:

  • Prestigious INSPIRE Award: second place
  • Design Award: first place
  • Connect Award: second place
  • Motivate Award: third place

The INSPIRE Award qualified us for the state competition in Flagstaff which will be held on February the 22nd/23rd 2019

Thank you to all of the teams participating for making this a great event. We really appreciate and are thankful for the efforts of the Jaegers and all other teams and volunteers in Arizona for hosting the regional and state competitions.