March 17, 2016

Duluth Wrap-Up

From Thursday, March 3rd to Saturday, March 5th, our team participated in the Northern Lights Regional in Duluth, Minnesota. Despite the bitter cold, our team ranked 4th overall at a competition of 60 teams. This event was the first real regional experienced by members of our varsity team, and proved to be a learning experience for both rookies and veterans. Our most successful event in regards to all departments, Northern Lights showcased how our four-year team could have a memorable impact on the competition.

Mechanically, our robot accomplished the majority of its goals. Riding over defenses with ease and scoring boulders into the low goal, our robot showcased its versatility on the field. Our pit crew worked tirelessly with the competition team in the pit area behind the scenes and in between matches, ensuring that our robot operated at full capacity. Additionally, the pit and competition teams were able to solidify the team’s strategy. In the coming weeks, the engineering sides of the team will work even harder to repair broken systems and potentially implement new mechanisms to improve our strategy.

Public Relations members spent their time at Duluth roaming the pit areas having discussions with other teams. Connections were made between our team and several others, prompting discussions about how to improve social media and community outreach. These relations with other teams, along with our well written business plan, earned our team the Entrepreneurship Award. Our main impact in Duluth, however, was our intense and sophisticated scouting program. Members in the stands surveying the matches would relay information about teams’ performances to our computer analyst. From here, our team was able to obtain information about favorable team matchups, individual performances, and the best strategies to implement. Our lasting impression on the competition came from our scouting system, which was hailed by other teams as one of the best scouting systems at Duluth.

The three day span of  this competition allowed for each member of our varsity team to experience various aspects of a FIRST Robotics Competition, such as talking to teams in the stands, trying to out-cheer other teams in matches, and sitting in awe of the capabilities of another team’s robot. As a team, we learned more from this event than any of the previous regionals we attended, and we expect to only go up from here.