The 2016 Los Angeles regional is certainly one for the history books! It’s was a long, arduous weekend. The whole team was up before the sun and we were pretty much in the pits until we got kicked out all 4 days.
Wednesday: A strong team effort saw us load in everything we needed and get out out set up. It was also our first chance to reconnect with some friends. We saw Chilean friends 2576 and also Einstein buddies 987. Another great sighting was our old crate which team 5512 now uses to get to LA from Chile. It’s become an awesome combination of 207 and 5512 art. We are glad that we could help them be here. We would have a blast competing with and against all our friends the rest of the weekend.
Thursday: it was a mad dash from the second the pits opened to swap out parts for our 3D printed parts and finish the electronics wiring so we could pass inspection. This took us the majority of Thursday and we hardly got anypractice time in but we made it happen. We left inspected, running, and ready for qualifying rounds.
Friday: Time to throw down. We started the day with a visit from one of our heroes, Tom Mueller! If you don’t know who that is, he’s basically the greatest rocket scientist in the history of humanity. Tom is a long time hero of ours because he’s (apart from the coolest guy ever) the cofounder of Spacex. A company that you should be familiar with, who’s basically the new NASA and taking us to Mars! This Friday was probably one of the toughest Friday’s we’ve had in all our years of competition. As we grow into a more offensive tradition of robots and adopt more complex mechanisms, we’ve had some growing pains on the programming side. Inately, complex mechanisms require more sensors and more prgraming. So we are getting acquainted with talons, and sensors galore. Luckily a few alumni and students have stepped up to assist our long time programmer who used to have to do it solo. Together they has us running a lot better every match.
Saturday: from ranked 60th to on the #4 alliance. The time it took us to sort out all the kinks really cost us in qualifying. But luckily our friends 5510, and 696 had been keeping an eye on us the whole weekend and knew that number didn’t reflect our ability. We formed a very strong partnership and after a big comeback win in the quarterfinals we faced a daunting task in the semi finals.
Team 987 had formed a great alliance and their long term record as a big scoring shooter proved true. We gave them a tough match and tried to play some hard defense but they’re just too good when they’re on a roll. That said, the high rollers can come back to LA any time. We are big fans of team 987. While we were getting ready for closing cermonies we were pleased to see 987 cruise to a victory in LA. A very, very worthy champion. We were already talking about how we have made so much progress we expect to be a stronger force in Ventura at our next regional and basically setting out sights there, to earn our spot at the world championship. BUT the night had some big surprises. Since we had won the chairman’s award in LA last year, the most prestigious award in FIRST, we didn’t think we’d be in the running for much this year. With a record number of entries, and teams like 399, 2576 and 987 in the house, we sat in section 207 not expecting to have to get up.
As we got down to the final two awards, the chairman’s award and the engineering inspiration award, we were excited to see which of our friends had won. These two awards are massively inportant because they are for merits that go way beyond the robot. These awards are to the program themselves. Who you are on, and off the field. They include what you do for the community, your students alumni, and basically all your team is, year round. As such an honor, they also qualify you to the world championship. Where the regional award winners have the chance to win the world championship level of each. To make a long story short, we must be doing some thing right. Team 207 is the 2016 Los Angeles Regional Engineerign Inspiration Award Winner! Quoting the judges, as a “hub for STEM” we are changing the world and people are starting to NOTICE! Our school district superintendent was also on hand to witness our achievement. A first.
As for us, now the mission is to find a way to pay to get us to the world championship and also do our best at Ventura. The mission I think is to win chairman’s award there and also the regional. That is just about the highest bar to set possible. But it would be awesome to have a chance to compete for both awards in the world championship. And as always we expect to improve our robot performance. Mechanically we think we have the ability now it’s just up to the drive team and programmers. See you in Ventura!!!