That’s one giant step for a robot — and two more giant leaps remaining for the students doing the driving!
On Friday, Dos Pueblos Engineering Academy’s Team 1717 put up some impressive scores on their way to a fifth-place qualifying rank. That earned them a shot in the final round of the Carver Field, one of eight at the FIRST Robotics World Championship in St. Louis, Mo.
By Saturday morning, they’ll be hard at work battling for one of the eight spots in the championship round to be held Saturday afternoon.
The top eight teams from Carver will form three-team alliances by choosing from the other robots they’ve been competing with and against for two days. DPEA’s large scouting team will compile their data overnight and work with the rest of the team to form a strategy for what is basically an NFL-style draft.
“Our job as scouts is basically to watch all the other robots to find out who would be good partners for us in the final-round alliances,” student Owen Mackenzie said. “I watch how much they can score, try to find out if they can do something special.”
Owen also noted the higher level of competition at the world finals, compared to the regionals (DPEA won the Ventura regional to earn a trip to St. Louis).
“The competitors here can do so many more things than we saw at the regionals,” he said. “We see a lot of robots here that are pretty advanced, showing some new strategies that we haven’t seen before.”
DPEA began the competition on Friday ranked 16th after the first day of qualifying on Thursday. Only two matches into Friday, they busted out with a single-game score of 268 points. That was the third-highest total put up by any alliance — pretty impressive when you consider there are more than 600 teams from around the world taking part in the annual event. That score helped them leap ahead in the rankings, and they clinched their high spot with a 200-point score in the final qualifying match.
Speaking of giant steps, along with the challenges they face on the field, the students are getting in their exercise.
“The Jones Dome and the Convention Center are a lot bigger than anything I was expecting,” student Emily Robison said. “The biggest surprise has been all the walking and moving around because everything is so far apart!”
The entire DPEA contingent hopes to make one more long giant step on Saturday — to go up and accept some medals for a successful conclusion to a long and winding road. Follow all the action by clicking here, including live coverage of the Carver Division playoffs and then the championship finals. The alliance selections begin at 5:30 a.m. Santa Barbara time, with the Carver playoffs starting at 7:30 a.m.
— Jim Buckley is a communications mentor for the Dos Pueblos Engineering Academy. He was assisted by mentors Annette Shimada and Jack Meyer and student Yesenia Terriquez.