It’s 4 A.M., and the DFW airport is empty. That is, until Jesuit’s robotics team floods in and fills the security lines, preparing to board the flight into the unknown – into Colorado. It is there, in the Ritchie Center of Denver University, that the 2018 Colorado Regional tournament is held, from March 21-24.

 

The pits in the small gym.

There were two main areas in the Ritchie Center: the small gym, where the pits were located, and the stadium, where the competition itself was held. There were 52 teams attending the tournament, and each team had their own pit in the small gym, ordered by team number. The stadium, which was large enough to accommodate for both the competition field and the practice field, was accessible either from gates located around the stadium, or from the tunnel that connected the stadium to the pits.

 

Some of The All Sparks’ team members, wearing a shirt titled “Texas Invaders,” showing the six teams competing in the Colorado Regional tournament from Texas.

Even though this competition was intended for teams located near the Colorado region, six teams from Texas competed in the tournament, five of which were in the playoffs and four of which were in the finals. These six teams were team 118, the Robonauts from League City, team 148, the Robowranglers from Greenville, team 3005, the Robochargers from Dallas, team 4641, the HazMat Hawks from Red Oak, team 5414, Pearadox from Pearland, and last but definitely not least, our team.

Our team, team 2848, the All Sparks, seeded 14th in the qualification matches, with an average ranking score of 2.00. During each match, the alliance has a possibility to earn 4 ranking points. Two points are awarded for winning the match (or 1 point for a tie), 1 point is awarded if each team on the alliance crosses a line during the autonomous period and at least one of them scores a power cube in their side of the switch, and lastly 1 point for each team on the alliance successfully hanging their robot on top of the central scale.

Our robot, Fade Away, scoring a power cube in the switch.

After the grueling 96 qualification matches, the alliance selection took place. During the alliance selection, the top teams go through a long process to pick other teams and eventually decide the three teams that will be on each of the eight alliances. The All Sparks were picked by team 1339, AngelBotics from Denver, CO to be on the sixth seeded alliance. Our alliance then chose team 4499, the Highlanders from Fort Collins, CO as our second pick.

The team is getting hyped up for the big match!

The Rangers successfully beat the third seeded alliance in the quarterfinals, and went on to face very tough opponents in the semifinals: the second seeded alliance, led by team 118, the Robonauts (who won the Dallas Regionals), along with team 3005, the Robochargers (who was our alliance partner in the Dallas Regionals) and team 4293, Komodo from Highlands Ranch, CO. We fought our hardest to come out with a win in the first match, beating the other alliance 404 – 244. However, though we kept fighting on as hard as possible, we couldn’t beat them again and faced crushing defeats in the next two matches. The second seeded alliance then went on to beat the first seeded alliance (team 148, the Robowranglers (who also won the Dallas Regionals), team 1619, Up-A-Creek Robotics from Longmont, CO, and team 5414, Pearadox) in the finals, winning them the tournament.

The big screen showing the score of the first of our semifinals game when we won!

After the tournament, the president of the robotics team, Jack Barone ’18, was satisfied with the results.

“The Colorado Regional was a great tournament for our team, it was our second time getting the robot up and running and we were pleased with how it did.”

He continued:

“it was definitely a different feeling at the tournament this year not only as the president but as a senior. We all put in a lot work this season and we felt the pressure as the leaders unlike past years.”

 

Though the All Sparks didn’t win the Colorado Regionals, there’s still hope for the team in the World Championships in Houston from April 18-21. Wish ‘em luck, and stay tuned to The Roundup for more exciting robotics updates!

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