Chestnut Hill Event

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As most of you may have already heard, FRC team 2559, along with teams 341 and 1218, WONthe district competition this past weekend!

Before I forget, we will be getting together tomorrow after school to make a game plan for next week.

Now onto the two-day event, it was long and loud but lots of FUN!

Thursday:  We arrived at Springside Chestnut Hill Academy around 4:00pm in the afternoon. The event was held in a gym and at times it got really crowded. Once we found the pit area and unloaded the vans, the team had to wait for an inspector in order to remove the tag from the bag and unload the robot.  Once out of the bag, “Abby-Normal” (as the robot was named for this event), was busy getting ‘tweaked’.  Once Abby was fully inspected, the drive team took her to the practice area for a practice run. For any of you have that followed team 2559 in the past, a practice run before the main event was a first! 🙂  It was a long day, as the pits did not close until 10:00pm and Abby was either being worked on or being driven the whole time. Needless to say, the team was happy to put the robot in the pit and get some sleep!!

Friday:  Since the pits opened at 7:30am, the hotel agreed to provide a courtesy ‘wake-up’ call at 5:55am and the team eagerly jumped out of bed to start the day (HA!).

Everyone was in better spirits after a big breakfast (and lots of coffee), so we arrived at the pits between 7:30 – 7:45am.  Members of the Normality Zero team were busy scouting (gathering info on the other robots) and providing that data to our build and drive teams. Although Abby was experiencing some problems with her belt(s) and the arm that tilts the bridge so she can drive over it, the robot was running well and the drive team was getting into a rhythm during the practice matches from 8am – 11am. The opening ceremonies started around 11:15am and the Seeding matches (position of a participant in a tournament) followed immediately thereafter. However, there was about an hour where the communications went down and everything STOPPED! During this time, the gym exploded with singing and dancing (even the ref’s got into it).  Eventually, things were back up and running and at one point, Normality Zero was ranked 17th out of 36.

Saturday:  The big day and another early morning start!  After we packed the vans with luggage, and ate our breakfast, we left the hotel and drove to the competition.  Although it was only 7:30am, the parking area was filling up quickly and the gym was already getting full.  Opening ceremonies started around 8:15am and by 8:45am the Seeding matches had officially begun.  Although Abby’s arm was not fully functional, another robot tipped the bridge and Abby drove up and was able to balance for the first time! Once Abby got a taste of “bridging”, many more balancing acts would follow. Around Noon, the top eight teams were announced.  We knew we would not qualify, but we were hoping that someone would invite us to join their alliance. We held our breath the whole time, but before we knew it the alliance selections had almost been completed. The top two teams were last to choose their robot/team and then it happened.  Team 1218 (Vulcan Robotics) asked us to join their red alliance with 341 (Miss Daisy) and everyone in the gym cheered us on as we accepted their invite.

The final rounds started around 1:00pm as the first six teams took the field. The strategy for our alliance was to have teams 341 and 1218 play offense, while we played defense.  The driving team did a great job of blocking the blue team and keeping them from making baskets, as well as taking our basket balls. This allowed teams 341 and 1218 to score as many points as possible.  On two occasions, the three robots attempted a triple bridge, but one of them always ‘turtled’ (the robot falls backwards and its wheels come off the ground).  Before we knew it, it was theFINAL match and we were in it!  The official and final score of the last match was 71-54. The red alliance had won and the gym erupted with cheers and the song “We are the Champions”began to play over the loud speakers.

THE AWARDS CEREMONY:  This was the moment Normality Zero had been waiting for (and for some, it’s been a dream since 2008!).  After many recognitions and awards were given to some of the other teams attending the event, the Champions were finally announced and proudly claimed their medals.

A big thank you to everyone who attended the competition, who helped with the fund raisers, attended the club meetings, and/or gave their time after school and on the weekends.

The next event we will be attending is on March 24 & 25 at Lenepe High School in New Jersey and the rooms have been booked. We hope to see mentors and sponsors attending to support our team.

We are looking for money so we can attend the regional championship and Adam has been applying for grants. If any of you have suggestions (more importantly, information/contact info), it would be greatly appreciated!
We hope to record as much as possible on film and hopefully, we will be putting together a video of all events to send out to all of you.  Thank you again for your support