Southwood's FRC Robotics Team traveled to Kenner, Louisiana March 16 - 19 to compete in the FIRST Bayou Regional robotics tournament. The tournament was the culmination of a journey that had started on January 9, 2016 when the FIRST Kickoff Event spelled out the challenges and tasks that we must design, construct and program a robot to accomplish. Each team in FIRST is given 6 weeks from that January 9th starting date to complete their robot design and construction. February 23rd was the last day we were allowed to work on the robot. On that day we placed the robot in a bag and sealed it with a numbers tag to ensure that it was secure until we reached the tournament in Kenner. After that time, we fine-tuned our program and worked on various other parts that did not include the robot but that were necessary to attend the tournament.
The tournament consisted of 10 qualification matches followed by a championship round where the winner would be crowned. We battled hard during the qualification matches overcoming several setbacks with the robot and its programming. At the end of qualifications, we were ranked 19th out of the 56 teams in attendance and we felt pretty good about ourselves. The championship round is initiated by the top eight teams choosing two partner teams each to ally with in the championships. We, being ranked 19th, thought that there was a good chance that we would get chosen. We waited through the choosing ceremony at the edge of our seats, but it didn't happen, we were not chosen to participate in the championship round. We were asked, however, to remain at the tournament through the conclusion of the championship to act as a reserve team. In the event that another team's robot was damaged beyond quick repair in the championship we would replace them. In the end that didn't happen and we loaded and came back to Southwood better for the experience and happier with the knowledge that we had performed better than any robotics team from Southwood in the last decade.