Article Submitted by: Piper Sondreal
Today was filled with rigorous competition that kept our drive team engaged in the qualification matches. Interstellar sported some new bling throughout the day: a custom made Minnesota “UFFDA” sticker that wowed the crowd! In our first qualification match, we were able to complete a rocket and climb to level three, but sadly it wasn’t enough to come out on top in the end. But we were able to come out victorious in our second match despite the substantial defense played against us. We had three more qualification matches in which we ended up defeating the opposing alliance in each one, ranking us 4th in our division (we also set a high score for the day at 109). Several of our students also ran into some of the “big dogs” of FIRST today as well: Woodie Flowers and the founder of FIRST, Dean Kamen. This doesn’t happen often and was definitely a highlight of the day for some. We have 5 more qualification matches left for tomorrow, hopefully coming out in our favor!!
We arrived at the Cobo Center bright and early at 7:00 am ready to take on the day for our last 5 qualification matches. We were ranked 1st in our division after our first match of the day, and continued to fight to keep that spot throughout the rest of the day. After 114 qualification matches, our team from just a small town in Minnesota came out on top and ended up ranked 1st in our division, a feat our team had yet to do at the World Competitions previous years. This gave our team the feeling of being in a dream, it felt surreal. But with our victory came stress, as tomorrow we have to pick an alliance to help us make it to the Einstein matches. When we got back to our hotel, strategizing was in full swing with the scouters and drive team hashing out ideas of who to pick for the playoffs tomorrow. One of our team members had the chance to present a seminar on Core Values alongside Yoji Shimizu, team 1816, team 2077, and team 3750, a conference attended by other teams that taught the importance of establishing core values for your team and their impact. Also! FIRST Robotics Competition Top 25 talk show host Tyler Olds came to our pit and interviewed some of our drive team today! A couple of our team members got his autograph and he also signed our hatch pick up. What a crazy thing to happen to our small town team!
What an exciting day! We started off our day by choosing teams in alliance selections to compete alongside us in the playoffs. Our #1 ranked alliance in the Carson division was completed with the additions of team 1796 the TigerBots from New York, team 1816–our #bffteam from Edina, Minnesota, and our neighboring FRC team 3750 from Badger (go gators!). With our alliance complete and ready to compete, we began our journey through the playoffs. We won our first two quarter final matches and advanced to the semi finals, where we tore up the competition and moved onto the Carson division finals! The matches were intense as we won the first one and lost the second, sending us into a tie breaker match. The opposing alliance played fantastic defense against us, making these matches some of the most difficult of all season. During our last finals match, our alliance member, team 1796, blew an air tank causing their robot to slow down and become unable to climb. It was a heartbreaking loss as we would not continue on into the Einstein matches to follow, but came with a bittersweet outcome with two Minnesota teams (4607 C.I.S. and 2052 KnightKrawler) representing the Carson division. In the end, we were all so proud of how far we had made it at the World Championships and were able to reflect on how much we’ve grown over the past couple of years. We are becoming a force not to be reckoned with in the FIRST world, and it was crazy to see how much potential we have in our future. After the playoffs, we stayed around to watch the Einstein matches and then started our long trip back home. Overall, we had a life-changing week full of tears of joy and sadness, pride in ourselves and our friends, and a life’s-worth of memories that are cherished by all. <3