District Championships: Playing With Fire!

On Thursday morning at 6:15AM, Daisy hit the road ready to take on her next challenge: FIRST Mid-Atlantic District Championships! After an hour-long bus ride, we arrived at Lehigh University’s lobby, waiting with anticipation to take our place in the stands. Finally, at 8:00 AM, the doors opened, and we strided in with confidence in each and every one of our steps.. From above the field, we had a great view of our amazing performance during the practice matches. 

During our first practice match, we (alongside 1807 and 3314)  scored a whopping 132 points– 16 points higher than our all time high at our last competition. Riding off of the fuel from our great performance from the first practice match, we slayed the rest of our practice matches all the way until qualifications. We only had three qualification matches on Thursday, but we managed to get 11/12 ranking points by the end of the day! 

On Friday, we came back determined to win. Shortly after the announcer told the crowd to do the wave, our robot joined in by waving one of its arms too. A chain on the arm had come loose, causing the arm to swing back and forth as it sped across the field. Fortunately, we quickly fixed this, and Daisy was back in shape for the next match. In the following match, our robot was climbing its way to the traversal bar when the hooks became stuck on the high bar. We watched from the edge of the seats and felt our hopes hanging in the balance, almost as precariously as our robot on the high bar. Our pit crew rushed to uncover the problem and resolve it. They ran programming diagnostics, checking every facet of our robot’s performance. 

As we loaded onto the field, the atmosphere buzzed with anticipation. Midway into the match, our shooter began acting funky – it was mal(funk)tioning. We had lined up to shoot our balls into the high goal, but they consistently fell short of even the low goal. Our shooter speeds were inconsistent, and later assessment led us to the conclusion that we had forgotten to reset the programming for the shooter. With this knowledge in mind, we moved forward, minds set on staying vigilant and showing the true potential of our robot. 

Our following matches yielded much better results. Our zealous cheers of “FLOWER POWER” echoed throughout the stadium. We won52048664106_c06c87d0c6_e our next three matches, proving that we were there to stay. We ended the day feeling redeemed and ready for what Saturday would bring. 

In between the matches, faithful daisy scouts on the dangerous ground prowled through the pits evaluating teams for the daisy designated awards we created. By prowling, we mean walking around the pits and making friends with other people on the floor (obviously)! To recognize these accomplishments, our team created these four flower trophy designs to hand out to deserving teams in specific areas. Categories included presentation, spirit, gracious professionalism, and engineering. 

Saturday morning, we ended qualifications ranked 5/60. This set us up well for alliance selection, where we were picked by the second seed, 2539 Krypton Cougars! Our third pick was team 1914, half of the Midknight Inventors. 

We plowed through the quarter finals with ease – bringing us to the semi finals, where things got heated. In the first match of semis, we smoked our opponents, scoring above 100. In the second match, we were engulfed in the flames of their vengeance, and we lost. The scales were balanced. Who would tip it in their favor? The tension was so thick, a hacksaw could cut it. Our drive team put the pedal to the metal and success was in sight. After the longest three minutes of the entire day, the blue alliance victory plane flew across the screen, administering our ticket to the finals. 

We boarded the finals– cold sweat dripping down, Diglet’s, our driver’s face as he loaded the driver station with the control board. Those of us in the stands were no longer seated, the heat of the moment brought us to our feet. We, and our friends and allies at team #11,52049164120_c44809dd85_e MORT, rose to the occasion. In a true show of gracious professionalism, they joined us at our stands and erupted in cheers for us. The feeling indescribable, and exemplified the unifying spirit of FIRST – we were no longer two teams, we were one team rallying for one mission: victory. The robots lined up at their positions, the drive team stood at the line, and all of us in the stands were on our very tippy toes. 

The first finals match had us head to head. The final score was 107 to 104 – only three points off. Our palms sweaty, knees weak, and arms heavy, we headed into the defining match of the whole competition. Then… we lost. 

Although we lost, we held our petal-adorned heads high. To us, the loss did not define us – our performance, our effort, and all our hours of hard-work leading up to this moment did. As it would turn out, the judges and the calculators felt the same! We still qualified for worlds through our own merit! Our ranking point average was calculated to be 3.41 as an added bonus! And perhaps in the most uncanny delight of the night, we won the Excellence in Engineering Award for the third time

During awards, we rushed down to get our red ribboned medals. We’re ready to continue one of our most decorated seasons yet in Houston, Texas! We’re far from finished yet. 

See you on the world(s) stage.

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