Since Dos Pueblos High School’s Team 1717, won the Long Beach Regional finals less than a month ago, the D’Penguineers have been fine-tuning their code in preparation for the Central Valley Regional, which began Friday.
During the period between the two regional competitions, Team 1717’s drivers practiced nonstop, honing their strategy and refining their skills, while programmers and mechanical teams enhanced the robot to maximize its capabilities.
This year’s challenge for FIRST Robotics teams is Rebound Rumble, a game composed of a unique combination of elements from previous FIRST games. Rebound Rumble is played by two competing alliances on a 27-foot-by-54-foot field divided by a 4-inch-tall by 6-inch-wide barrier. Three bridges are located in the center of the field — one for each alliance and a “coopertition bridge.”
The purpose of this year’s game is to score as many baskets as possible within the two-minute time frame. The first 15 seconds of the game make up the “hybrid period,” during which robots must operate on pre-programmed instructions without interference from drivers. Bonus points are awarded for any baskets scored during this time. The drivers then step forward and take control for the remainder of the game, called the “teleoperated” period.
During the last 30 seconds of the game, alliances may attempt to balance one or more robots on their designated bridges, earning them points for their team, or “coopertate” on the center bridge, awarding both alliances points to raise their chances of a high seeding for the final rounds.
On Thursday, the D’Penguineers spent the day in the pit, updating their robot with the new components that had been developed after the last regional and implemented on the practice bot. Team 1717’s robot, Lindsay Rose, named after a teammate who tragically passed away, was then wheeled out to participate in the practice matches, during which Team 1717 lost only a single match. During the team’s last match of the day, the robot’s shooter broke and the team scrambled to repair it, managing to fix the damage before the qualifying rounds.
The qualifying rounds began with a dramatic win for the D’Penguineers. Although the Lindsay Rose was the target of defensive measures by the opposing alliance, Team 1717 easily overcame its competition by shooting accurately from the key — a safe zone in Rebound Rumble. The team’s alliance partner pitched in to “coopertate” with the opposing alliance, securing another two qualification points to contribute to the D’Penguineers seeding. The final score, a definitive 62-6, set the tone for a victorious streak in the qualifying rounds.
The next two matches continued in a similar vein, with sweeping victories of 54-13 and 44-24. Team 1717 and its alliance partners implemented a new strategy during the initial rounds — one alliance partner would feed balls into our robot during the hybrid period. This strategy aims to take advantage of the Lindsay Rose’s superior shooting accuracy to secure the additional points given to baskets scored during the hybrid period.
The fourth match presented serious setbacks. The D’Penguineers played excellent offense, scoring 50 basket points. However, our alliance partners, mistaking the opposing alliance’s bridge for our own, repeatedly fouled while attempting to climb it. In the stands, Team 1717 and its supporters watched in horror, calling down to the drivers of our alliance teammate in an attempt to alert them to their mistake.
At the close of the match, the fouls totaled 63 points and Team 1717’s alliance was defeated 56-65. However, the Lindsay Rose successfully “coopertated” with a member of the opposing alliance, earning both alliances’ two qualification points and ending the match on a positive note. Remaining unfazed, the D’Penguineers made a strong recovery in the next match, winning 55-15 against the current No. 1 seed, despite strong defense presented by the opposing alliance.
The next three matches were victorious as well, with solid wins of 73-38, 77-40 and 65-26. The team finished out the day tied for first seed and has high hopes for the regional finals.
The day was topped off when Team 1717 was awarded the Innovation in Control Award. This award, sponsored by Rockwell Automation, celebrates an innovative control system or application of control components — electrical, mechanical or software — to provide unique machine functions.
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— The Dos Pueblos Engineering Academy Public Relations & Event Reporting Team includes Jeff Gau, Chloe Warinner, Justin Morris, Sepideh Parhami, Vy-Luan Huynh, Phillip Hodgson, Parker Olson and Danielle Tisdale.