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Friday, January 18 , 2019, 2:09 pm | Fair 63º


D’Penguineers Win Central Valley Regional FIRST Robotics Competition

Dos Pueblos High's Team 1717 heading back to U.S. FIRST world championships April 25 in St. Louis

The Dos Pueblos High School Team 1717 arrived at Madera South High School for the final day of the FIRST Robotics Central Valley Regional on Saturday, eager to defend its position as the top-ranked team at the Rebound Rumble competition.

After two exciting matches Saturday morning, the D’Penguineers succeeded not only in that goal but also in becoming the highest scoring team in the world, a first for Team 1717. This has been a year of firsts for Team 1717, including its first year in the new Elings Center for Engineering Education on the Dos Pueblos High campus and their first time winning the Innovation in Control Award for their robot programming.

At the alliance selection ceremony, Team 1717 allied themselves with Teams 330 and 2102. Team 330, the Beach Bots from Hope Chapel Academy in Hermosa Beach, and the D’Penguineers have a long history of cooperating to win regionals. Scouts from both teams thought that 2102-Team Paradox of San Dieguito High School Academy in San Diego, had a robot with promising skills and infectious enthusiasm that would benefit the alliance in the finals.

Team 1717’s alliance entered the elimination matches with a strong start, winning the first quarter-final match decisively. Because each round of the tournament is the best two out of three, Team 1717 still had to defeat its opponents once more to advance to the semi-finals. The second match was much closer; the opposing alliance dramatically increased its level of play, and Team 1717 won by only five points, thanks to the combination of a last-minute bridge balance from alliance members and some baskets scored by the D’Penguineers with only seconds left.

From the very beginning of the semifinals, Team 1717 struggled with an unresponsive wheel. However, the team members designed their robot to have driving capability with only three wheels, so they were still able to score points for their alliance. Many members of the audience did not even realize the robot was having trouble. With the help of alliance members, Team 1717 won two semifinal matches and moved on to the finals.

After rushing to fix their uncooperative wheel, the D’Penguineers and their alliance partners faced off against an alliance led by 2011’s world champions, Team 254 of Bellarmine College Preparatory School in San Jose, in the final round of the tournament. The first match of the finals was a resounding win for 1717’s alliance, thanks in no small part to the aggressive defense played by teams 330 and 2102.

Before the next match, a flurry of activity surrounded all the robots on the field, as teams prepared them for what could be the deciding match. As time went on and team members remained on the field, tensions rose among the audience. At the back of everyone’s mind was the nagging worry that their robot might not start when the match began. All three robots on 1717’s alliance worked successfully during the initial seconds of the match, but moments later, team 330’s robot halted in the middle of the field, realizing those fears for Team 1717 and their partners. With 330 showing no signs of life, 1717 and 2102 steeled themselves for a grueling 2-on-3 match, and a potential tiebreaker. The crowd’s worried murmurs slowly turned to cheers of astonishment as 1717 scored basket after basket, while 2102 ran a nigh-impenetrable defense despite shedding parts onto the field. The alliance’s plucky third pick closed the deal by balancing on the alliance bridge, ending the final match of the Central Valley FIRST Regional with an 11-point win for the alliance of 1717, 330 and 2102.

With another regional win under their belts, Team 1717 will be traveling to St. Louis on April 25 to compete against more than 350 teams from across the world for the coveted title of U.S. FIRST world champions.

» Click here for video of the FIRST Robotics Central Valley Regional.

» Click here for more information on the Dos Pueblos Engineering Academy.

» Click here for more information on the DPEA Foundation. Click here to make an online donation.

— The Dos Pueblos Engineering Academy Public Relations & Event Reporting Team includes Jeff Gau, Chloe Warinner, Justin Morris, Sepideh Parhami, Phillip Hodgson, Parker Olson and Danielle Tisdale.

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