Last weekend, the Wissahickon Robotics Team ventured a mere 5 miles down the road to compete at our team’s first district event of 2023. It was nice to be back in the electrifying atmosphere of competition again, and apparently all our students thought the same. Of the 63 students on the team, all but 2 decided to attend on Saturday. This was one of our largest showings ever! After eight long but rewarding weeks of build season, we were charged up and ready to face the journey ahead.
Armed with our knowledge from competition preparation and scouting discussions, we were motivated to get the best stands possible. After some brisk speed walking, we acquired seats in the very, very, very…. very back. Despite our faraway position, our spirit was unstoppable.
On Saturday, we played 8 qualification matches. The anticipation hung in the air as we awaited our very first match of the season. From the start of the match, our team was sitting on the edge of our seats. Our chants broke through the ambience of the crowd. The Spirit of The Daisy possessed one of our team members, Parth. He lost all control over his limbs and submitted to the galvanizing vigor of the Daisy Spirit™. He debuted our bright, new mascot costume that team members had been working on all season and stood as a shining beacon among the crowd, sparking excitement in the stands. In that moment, we were experiencing the culmination of all the season’s highs and lows. Yet, as our robot began swerving around the field, it became apparent that something was wrong. The intake and wrist did not move and could not pick up game pieces. When the pit crew rushed to fix the issue, they discovered the encoder on the wrist was completely smashed. Since there was such a quick turnaround for the second match, we did not have a chance to repair our robot completely, and our robot’s wrist encoder once again failed to work. The wrist and intake sat limply in our robot as our drive team did the best they could, using the drive base to push game pieces into the lower nodes.
Off the field, invigorating new initiatives were taking place. Our awesome Impact Award crew mentally steadied themselves for the presentation. For the first time in thirteen years, our team, driven by student passion and initiative, was submitting the Impact Award, an award that celebrates a team that embodies the missions and values of FIRST and serves as a role model to other teams. Our immaculate Impact Award crew had been preparing all season, writing essays and summaries to document our team’s outreach efforts in the past three years. On Saturday morning, it was game time. Though the crew entered into the judges room nervous and antsy, they came out triumphant! They high fived each other and sighed breaths of relief as they relayed tales of their performance to other team members: they had handled the judges’ questions well and felt confident in all that they had done! Our immaculate Impact Award crew represent our team’s unwavering drive to continually improve and find new ways to help our community. We were proud of the amazing work they had done.
Additionally, after numerous rounds of prototyping, our digital scouting app was ready for launch. Our scholarly, scheming scouting leaders took their positions at the frontline, guiding new and old scouts alike in recording data. The scouts used the new tablets and scouting app to track robots’ autonomous performance, identify where robots placed game pieces, and record how well they docked and engaged with the charge station.
Disaster struck at noon. As scouting leaders scoured and scrutinized over the scoring data, they scrolled through screens of scary red error messages. Scarred by this failure and screwed by the faulty data, the scouting leaders felt scrambled. But, the scrappy scouts scratched together data by strategizing to collaborate with other teams to use their data.
Though the day began with a couple of bumps in the road, it seemed that a lightning strike of power surged into our robot. Maybe it was the Spirit of the Daisy™. Maybe it was a miracle. But most likely, it was the tireless work of our persistent pit crew and our drive team, as well as our weeks of build and design. By the end of the day, our robot was in much better shape, operating and playing as we had designed it to do. We left the school hopeful for the matches to come.
The next day, we won our last three qualification matches in a row, setting us up for alliance selection as the 7th ranked team out of 34. Even though we had started at the bottom, we were HERE, as alliance leaders! We were happy to be picked by Team 1640, who became the 4th alliance captain. After losing our first match against the third alliance, we won our next match. However, we lost again soon after. Do not fret! Our event was not over yet. During the awards ceremony, we won The Industrial Design Award. This is our first time winning this award since 2013, and we see this award as a testament to our robot’s cohesive design.
Hatboro Horsham showed our team the potential our robot has, and we’re all charged up for our next competition at Springside Chestnut Hill! See you then!