Southwood's FRC Robotics Team traveled to Kenner, Louisiana March 22 - 25 to compete in the FIRST Robotics (For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology) Bayou Regional tournament. The tournament was the culmination of a journey that had started on January 7, 2017 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 21st 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 numbered 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. After the second qualification round, we opted to remove a major portion of our robot, the ball elevator. It became apparent that collecting and depositing balls was not of sufficient point value to continue to do so. At the end of qualifications, we were ranked 33rd out of the 60 teams in attendance, we felt pretty good about ourselves, but many lessons were learned to continue to improve for next year. The championship round is initiated by the top eight teams choosing two partner teams each to ally with in the championships. We, being ranked 33rd, were hopeful that we would get chosen because of the unique skills (design of our robot) that we displayed. 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 loaded and came back to Southwood better for the experience and happier with the knowledge that we had performed our best.
Senior Robotics Instructor
Southwood High School