An amazing 2016 season!

What an incredible season! FRC Team 4931 finished in second place at the 2016 St Louis Regional FIRST Robotics Competition!

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Some of Team 4931 just after the final match on Saturday. Several other students were unable to attend Saturday because of conflicting events.

This year’s game was FIRST Stronghold℠. Each match involves two alliances of 3 teams attempting to breach the opposing alliance’s defenses and capture the tower.

We designed, modeled, fabricated, assembled, programmed, and tested our robot (aka, “Walter”) in just 6 weeks. Our strategy was for our robot to be very simple, sturdy, and tough, and to quickly defeat all of the eight defenses, and all but two of them in autonomous. We wanted to be able to assist shooting robots by collecting boulders, and we also wanted robot that could play defense against even the best shooting robots. Walter is about 12.5″ tall, 28″ square (excluding bumpers), constructed of mostly aluminum, and weighed in at 96lbs. It uses six 8″ pneumatic wheels chain-driven by four CIM motors, a custom chassis that gave us the ground clearance to get over several nasty defenses while being short enough to fit under the Low Bar defense. It also featured a motor-driven retractable arm mechanism that is very effectively against the Cheval de Frise and Portcullis defenses, and helps us capture and handle boulders.

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We attended the St Louis Regional on March 9-12 at the Chaifetz Arena. This year, 49 teams from Missouri, Illinois, Kentucky, Indiana, and Wisconsin. The first day of qualifying matches (Friday) went very well, and after 10 matches we stood in first place in the rankings with another 4 matches to be competed the next day. The other teams were great competitors and alliance partners, and we ended up with the 4th highest rank out of the 49 teams.

Next up was alliance selection, where the 8 highest ranked teams each select two more teams for their alliance. The #2 ranked team, Team 1094, the “Channel Cats” from O’Fallon, MO, picked us as their first alliance partner, and we gladly accepted. (We were alliance partners for the previous 2 years, too!) Our alliance was very happy to pick Team 4329, the “Lutheran Roboteers” from St. Charles, MO, as our third alliance member.

All of the quarter-final matches were amazing, and there were even a few upsets. We lost the first quarter final, but won the next two, and were off to the semi-finals.

Here are our two semi-final matches (we’re the red alliance in both, and 4931 is the red robot that plays defense in the blue alliance’s courtyard):

Both were great matches (106-50 and 106-94) with an amazing opposing alliance comprised of FRC teams 1288 Raven Robotics from St. Charles, MO; 3397 Robolions from University City, MO; and 1706 Ratchet Rockers from Wentzville, MO.

The finals were … amazing. We faced the incredible #1 ranked alliance: FRC Team 1675 UPS (Ultimate Protection Squad) from Milwaukee, WI; FRC Team 2451 PWNAGE from Saint Charles, IL, and FRC Team 4330 Rambunction from St. Louis, MO.

Here’s match 1 — we’re the blue alliance this time, and once again our robot plays defense much of the match:

Here’s match 2:

And here’s match 3:

What a nail biter and an amazing end to our 2016 season! It was close, but Teams 1675, 2451 and 4330 played very well and are off to the 2016 FIRST World Championships, held April 27-30 in St. Louis at the Edward Jones Dome and Convention Center.

Congratulations to all the teams that took part in the 2016 St. Louis Regional FIRST Robotics Competition — you were all so much fun to work with! Go FIRST!

Thank you go all of our sponsors: Boeing, Red Hat, PTC, the US Department of Defense STEM program, GSK, Lewis & Clark Community College and its wonderful St. Louis Confluence FabLab, St. Louis Scale, and GitHub. We also want to thank Edwardsville Robotics Club (our parent organization) and the high schools that our students attend: Edwardsville High School, Metro East Lutheran High School, and Father McGivney Catholic High School.

And thank you to all of our parents, families, and friends that supported us throughout this season. We know that the 6-week build season is tough on our families, but you were there to back us up and to give us this amazing opportunity.