This past Saturday, the Pirate Robotics team of LauraLee Dafft, Emma Jungman, and Vrunda Patel secured their spot in the Regional Robotics championship at Canyon High School, 1510 I-35, New Braunfels on March 1st -3rd. The contest on Saturday was the Corpus Christi League Championship at TAMUCC. The contest consisted of 5 rounds followed by championship knockout rounds for qualifying teams after. The day could not have started with any worse luck for the Pirates. Cell phone communications errors caused the team robot to be “dead robot” in two of the first 3 contests. Fortunately, once communications problems were resolved, the team had 3 strong scoring rounds. After the 5 early rounds, the 28 teams in the league were seeded 1- 28. The top four teams were made captains for the knockout phase of the contest. These teams then picked 2 alliance teams to help them go for the win. The pirates finished seeded at 10
th. However, knowing that the Pirate's ranking was not indicative of the true potential of the robot, the Pirates were a good pick for any team that had studied the competition closely. The Pirates team was proud to accept an invitation from a team for Collegiate High School to join their alliance.
The knockout phase consists of two semifinals and the finals. During the semifinals, the top seeded alliance battles the 4th seeded alliance in best 2 out of 3. The middle two ranked alliances fought for the other place in the league finals. The Pirates had a tough call to answer being in the 4th seeded alliance. For the first of 3 battles against the top seeded alliance, Alliance Leaders Collegiate High School's team captain made an interesting decision to send in themselves with not their highest seeded partner (GP), but the Pirates because of the way the two teams complimented each other in scoring ability. The decision paid off big time as Collegiate and the Pirates took a convincing first round win 144 to 128 aided by one of the best personal performances of team Pirate to date. The Pirates sat out the next round, and in a highly controversial contest the Collegiate GP lost a super close battle against the top seeded alliance, forcing a decisive final battle.
In the final round, the top two teams were to be sent in by the opposing alliance. In a daring gambit, the team captain of the Collegiate school decides that by sitting themselves out, the alliance of GP and Rockport has the highest possible number of points (if absolutely everything goes right!). The Pirates were approached by the Collegiate School team captain who told the girls “I believe in your team.”
Everything did not go right. During the autonomous (programmed) portion of the contest, the GP team upended themselves and severed their power connection – a dead robot in the first few seconds of the contest! Fortunately, the other alliance had issues of their own. As for the Pirates, everything went right! All by themselves, the Pirates scored more than both of the teams on the opposing alliance. It was a wonderful moment for me when the team captain from Collegiate ran to find me with tears down his face to say “Your team won it for us. Thank you!”.
Unfortunately, the finals did not go our way. The Pirates' alliance lost in two consecutive super close matches against the 2nd ranked alliance. In the end, the best team won, and so that is good for the sport.
The evening ended on super high note, however. Despite not winning the championship. The Pirates Robotics team won the League “Think Award” that was determined by judges from the TAMUCC- Department of Engineering. The criteria for the Think award is as follows:
Removing engineering obstacles through creative thinking.
This judged award is given to the Team that best reflects the journey the Team took as they experienced the engineering design process during the build season. The Engineering section of the notebook is the key reference for judges to help identify the most deserving Team. The Team's Engineering section must focus on the design and build stage of the Team's Robot. Journal entries must include descriptions of the underlying science and mathematics of the Robot design and game strategies, the designs, redesigns, successes, and opportunities for improvement.
As a result of receiving the Think award along with how the contest played out, The Pirates earned a spot as one of only 5 teams from the 28 teams in the league to qualify for the Regional Championship.
Please follow the link below to see a video of a match and pictures. The large group photos at the end show the full alliance from a team for Collegiate, GP, and Rockport. Note that the Pirates are a team of three amongst teams of 6 and 10 respectively.