Wednesday, March 2nd
Excitement was in the air as the gators got ready to head to Duluth for their first competition of the season; we couldn’t wait to get on the road! After lunch it was finally time to head out. The bus ride seemed to fly by due to all the singing, sleeping, and strategizing. Once we arrived in Duluth we had some time to hang out before we had to go unload at the DECC, so we enjoyed some swimming and sub sandwiches for supper. After we were done eating and the unloading team made it back to the hotel, the whole team got the chance to hear the Chairman’s presentation.
Thursday, March 3rd
Thursday was practice day at the DECC, which meant that it was a chance for robots to get on the field without really competing. Our team did well, and after we had finished our practice matches we felt ready for the actual competition.
A few other things that happened on Thursday: Martyn Novacek showed what gracious professionalism was all about when he stepped in to help another team build and program their robot. Our Junkyard robot, Golden Girl, was also judged on Thursday and ended up getting second place! Congratulations to Kristy Williamson and Amy Stauffenecker for the work they put into it!
Friday, March 4th
Friday was a busy day for everyone as the qualification matches got started. The drive and programming teams were of course making sure our robot performed at its best. The scouts stayed busy taking stats to look over later. The media team made sure to keep our social media sites updated, and the photographers captured every moment on camera. Our pit people were busy talking to judges about everything; they were asked questions about our robot, business plans, and safety program. By the end of the day the gators were 5-0-1 with two more matches on Saturday morning.
Saturday, March 5th
The gators finished up their last two qualification matches ending up 6-1-1 and ranked 16th out of the 60 teams at Northern Lights. We were picked by the number one alliance, team 2987, and chose team 3267 as our third alliance member. There was a quick lunch break and then it was time to start the elimination rounds. We would take on the eighth seed in the quarterfinals and win in two (137-99, 115-94), sending us into the semifinals. We took on the fourth seed and again won in two (185-168, 175-120), securing our spot in the finals where we took on the third seed. We ended up losing in two (122-137, 135-165). It was a hard loss, but we attended the awards ceremony with our heads up.
We received the following awards:
Safety First (given to us by team 4786, Nicolet Fear)
Safety Hard Hat Pin
Excellence in Engineering
As the ceremony was coming to an end it was time to give out the final award, the Chairman’s Award. Team 3132, Thunder from Down Under, won the Chairman’s Award, but as everyone was packing up to leave it was announced that due to a wild card ruling, the gators would get the chance to compete at the World Championship in St. Louis! It was an exciting moment for the gators! There was screaming, cheering, and even a few tears. Many members will tell you “It was an emotional roller coaster.”
Next up for the gators is the Iowa Regional; stay tuned by following us on
Facebook: Gator Robotics