Yee-haw to all of Texas from Team 341 at the FIRST World Championship in Houston, Texas! Miss Daisy arrived in Houston for the first time since 2019. After a fleeting three hour road trip and a three-hour flight from Wissahickon to the Houston Airport, the Daisies made their way over to the Lone Star State–but definitely not alone. Along with 341, many other teams boarded the flight and made their way to the hotel, making the Hilton Americas Houston a bustling FIRST location.
The first night was all about craze–after a hearty pizza dinner with the Holy Cows and High Rollers, we made good friends with the members of all the teams that were eating with us in Green Park became friends. After the dinner, there was hill-rolling, 341-posing, man-hunting, and all sorts of crazy racing! We secured a MOE 365 pool date on the top floor of the hotel for the next day, and we went to bed excited for competition.
The second day was load-in day. After a long 40-minute wait at the lobby Starbucks, we made our way across the street to the Convention Center, where we waited to unload our robot from the trailer (towed by the one and only Paul and Vince through the grueling 23.5-hour drive!). Half the team was able to help unload Miss Daisy, and the other half went over to the other side of the pit to give a helping hand to Team 7285, Sneaky Snakes from Şişli, Istanbul 34000, Turkey. For the twelve hours at competition, many members helped 7285, making long-lasting friendships and learning Turkish along the way. We finished off the night with a team dinner at a nearby hotel, and we made our way back to the hotel to sleep a long night to wake up early for competition the next day.
We woke up bright and early to meet at the Convention Center at 6:30 AM. Our robot underwent a few programming changes, which had a few holes that made it difficult for the booth crew to drive since it wasn’t going straight. But worry not! The first match we had with the Steampunks, 1577, ended with a 173 as the final score, the highest score on the Turing field for the entire competition. As we went through our first five matches, we had some difficulties, but the diligent pit crew worked their hands down to the bone to make the robot work, and it did! Except for a single match where we were unable to climb because of the time constraints, our robot consistently traversed. The PR team worked hard to speak to the robot and non-robot judges, and the media team ran around the huge center to take pictures of the team from every corner of the center. We finished off the day in 14th place, and we went to individually grab dinner at nearby restaurants or even the wonderful supermarket across the street (which was, of course, always packed because of the heavenly pricing on food).
We said good morning once again at 6:15 to make our way to the center to secure bleacher seats. Today was a great day! We won 3 out of the 5 matches that were scheduled for the day, and though things were tough, we held on. We had a multitude of picture-taking in the morning–from the NASA exhibition with the space helmet to the Boeing Sponsorship picture, the team explored the Innovation Faire and the nearby conferences. The team members attended sessions for women engineers, college scoutings, and scholarship opportunities. The PR team once again worked tirelessly to talk to the judges who came back to ask questions about the robot and the team, and before we knew it, it was time for the awards ceremony. Every team brought two representatives, and everyone stood in an anxious pose to hear what the MC had to say about the award winners. Once the MC, Rizzo, said “horseshoe” and “daisy” after the Creativity Award, our team leapt to our feet and cheered. This made history–as the first robot award to have won in the FIRST World Championship for 341 in history, this was HUGE! We placed overall 19th out of 75 on Turing, and we made it back to Green Park to have dinner with the Sneaky Snakes. After water-spraying, team wrestling, and laughing, we made our way back to the scouting meeting armed with Kung Fu Tea in hand. After a stuffy two and a half hours in one of the hotel rooms, we collapsed in our rooms, 341% ready for the next day. We couldn’t wait to wake up to the sound of alliance selections!
We woke up to blaring alarms from the hotel phone at 5:30 in the morning. Since everyone had a hard time waking up the previous day, the hotel was scheduled to make morning calls to every 341 room at 5:30 AM. It was effective! Everyone came down on time, and we were even able to secure 6 AM Lobby Starbucks before we made our way into the center. We sat through the suspenseful alliance selection, and we ended as the second pick of the sixth alliance. Even after the first quarter match where our alliance captain was disconnected from the robot, we pushed through. Unfortunately, we were unable to qualify for semi-finals, but we gladly let along the other alliances as we rooted for teams. In the following Einstein matches, we cheered on our fellow Turing alliance: 1577, 4414, 2539, and 4099. Watching the Chairman’s award winners alongside the actual final match winners was awe-inspiring, and was a reminder of what we strive for as a team. We spent our final night in Houston bonding with one another, and enjoying what else the city had to offer.
In the early morning, the daisies took one last glimpse of the city, and headed into the airport. We boarded the plane, the memory of Houston and our unforgettable experiences still lingering in our minds. As we traveled back to Pennsylvania, our flight from the beginning of the season finally landed.
See you in the off-season!