More thoughts on the Red Hawk Ringmaster tournament

By Bethany | Our 12/9 tournament went very well. We passed inspection immediately and went to skills. Unfortunately, on our first skills run, things went badly. Luckily, the score was dropped because the field was built incorrectly. We decided to then run our program (on a different field). The robot was moving along the field, bumped the wall, and missed the button. Dillon picked up the robot, set it in the starting square, and hit go again. There were a few issues with getting the refferees up to speed, which meant that the timer was stopped when the robot was touched. Once again, we got our run back. We  then drove skills again on one of the teamwork fields. Our robot started randomly moving when the controller wasn’t being moved, and it was determined that this was because of phones with bluetooth on interfering with our smart radios. That meant, yet again, our match was dropped. The referees also looked for other teams affected by this and dropped their scores too. Eventually, we ended up with a skills score of 92 and a programming score of 27, which was just  barely enough to earn us the Skills Champion award.

We also won the Excellence Award. We hope that it is because we did great, but it may have just been that we were the only Middle School team with a STEM project…

We were really excited for teamwork, but it didn’t go well at first. Our robot works really well with robots that grab rings off of the wall, but a couple of low scores dragged our average down. Once we got going, we earned a score of 148 points, which brought us up to second place. In the finals, we drove with the Yellow Spudnicks, who we drove with in a scrimmage. In the finals, we scored 132, which was enough for us and the Spudnicks to win the Teamwork Champion awards.

We didn’t just learn about strategy. Other teams, whether they knew it or not, taught us about perseverance. Many of the teams at the tournament only had a few weeks to assemble their robots and learn to drive, but their determination kept them at the top of the leaderboard. Other teams faced numerous difficulties but never argued or got upset.

Finally, we learned about troubleshooting. All throughout the day, things went wrong. Instead of telling us exactly what went wrong and why, our coach asked us what we thought had happened and how we thought we could fix the problem. Was it the driver? The robot? Was the field built wrong? We were tasked with figuring this out, and it helped us grow.

Our teamwork scores ranged from 25 points to 148 points. Our skills scores ranged from 2 points to 92 points. Our program ranged from 0 points to 27 points.

Over the course of the day, we became the second teamwork seed. In the finals, we scored 132 points.

At the scrimmage, we predicted that our strategy of grabbing ground rings would work well with other teams’ strategy of going for wall rings. This proved to be true.

Awards we won: Teamwork, Skills, Excellence, STEM

Programming run from the robot’s POV – 55 points!

Bethany strapped her drone to the top of our next successful robot design, and captured this footage of the program scoring 55 points from the robot’s perspective! This program, and our skills at driving the improved robot design, moved us steadily up the World Skills Rankings, and at one point we were ranked 10th in the world.

Early November programming test run (in robotics lab)

We could reliably score 31 points in programming matches with our first competition robot design. This program, combined with our driving skills, moved us up to about 75th in the world and earned us a trophy for Programming Skills Champion.