The competition season has come to an end for GRT. GRT has participated in two more competitions since the Del Mar trip: the Monterey Bay Regional in Week 4 (March 21-24) and the Silicon Valley Regional in Week 5 (March 28-31).
The entire team attended the Monterey Bay Regional. The team left from Gunn early in the morning on Friday and drove down to Monterey, where we checked into our hotel and spent the day at the Monterey Bay Aquarium. A few members also went to the competition site for the load in of the robot. On Friday, the whole team went to the arena to watch the practice matches. GRT worked out a few kinks in the robot and our drivers got great practice and a good feel for the qualification matches the following days. GRT also got to know many other teams on the practice day, both in the pits and during practice matches.
On Saturday, the qualification matches began. All members of the team were at the competition; members were either scouting other robots, working in the pits, or helping bring energy and enthusiasm to the stands (many people commented on the team spirit of GRT!). GRT members were also helping out other teams at the pits, either helping build bumpers or checking over fellow teams’ code.
The qualification matches concluded on Sunday. GRT finished ranked 18th and was picked by the 7th alliance. Unfortunately, we lost in the quarterfinals round to the second-ranked alliance. GRT still did very well in the competition; it was great to see the robot improve over the weekend and also to see all the relationships built with other teams at the competition. GRT’s ability to work well with other teams and the support that we gave during the competition was recognized when we won the Gracious Professionalism Award; this is the first time that GRT has won this award.
At the Silicon Valley Regional, GRT members did not stay overnight at the competition. Instead, small groups of students drove down to the arena in shifts, either coming to work in the pits or scout. Each day, multiple waves of students would come to the arena and take turns covering different responsibilities.
At SVR, GRT finished the qualification matches ranked 30th out of 59 teams (SVR is an incredibly competitive regional, so we were not disappointed in this result). We ended up being picked by the fifth-ranked alliance. Again, unfortunately, GRT lost in the quarterfinals, this time to the fourth-ranked alliance (we lost the last match in heartbreaking fashion, losing by a single point). GRT went on to win the Autonomous Award, the second time we won this award this year. This is truly a testament to the hard work and innovation being done by the controls subgroup.
The competition season has been incredibly positive for GRT. Though we did not win any regionals, the team members learned a lot from competing and GRT made connections with many other FIRST Robotics teams. Our rookies gained valuable experience and we believe that the team is headed in a great direction going forward.
As the competition season has now ended, GRT will be going to many more outreach events in the near future. We recently brought a robot to the Nixon Elementary School Science Night (4/12); it was awesome to be able to demonstrate a robot and encourage an interest in STEM in younger students.