Category Archives: Los Angeles Regional

3/12/16 – Saturday – Semi-Finals

The final day, the big finish – going by several names, this day is known for one thing –  elimination rounds. Elimination rounds were a series of matches, starting by first alliance to two wins to advance, and to first to three wins in the finals. The losing alliance would stop their advance right there, while the winning would continue to semi-finals, then to finals. Each alliance would be made of three teams, chosen from the top eight teams in order of ranks.

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Two judges asking questions about Banshee at Team 696’s pit.

Before these elimination rounds were to take place, there were still a few more qualification matches to finalize rankings. Team 696 performed fairly well in these as it has been doing for the past two days.

The top eight teams were shortly chosen, and they took their positions on the field. Starting with the first, they’d pick the second of three teams on their alliance. The fourth ranked team, Team 5510 The Da Vinci Coders, asked Team 696 to join their alliance. We graciously accepted the offer and took our place next to them. On the second run through the alliances Team 207, The MetalCrafters, were asked to join our alliance. And with that Team 696 was now part of one of the eight alliances that moved on to the elimination rounds.

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Team 696 Vice-President Alexander standing with the other two teams of the alliance.

One does not know the feeling of anxiety and nervousness until they are watching their robot participate in a ruthless elimination match. Team 696 members sat on the edges of their seats, watching with wide eyes as their alliance advanced through the games, sometimes winning a match, losing the next, but then winning the final one to secure their advance.

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Mika signalling the all-clear to shoot for the low goal during a match.

Team 696’s climb halted at the Semi-Finals. After winning one and losing one against none-other than Team 987’s, The High Rollers, alliance, Team 696’s alliance lost the third round. This marked the elimination of Team 696 from the competition, but that didn’t stop members from proudly congratulating their opponents.

By the end Team 696 members were 987’s matches as if they were their own, crying out and yelling alongside them. The High Rollers’ alliance ended up winning the competition, allowing them to move on to the FRC Championship matches.

Throughout these final matches some members went around in big inflatable-suits to get spirits up. They were a huge success, getting entire groups of spectators to dance along.

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Team 696 member and Alumni posing in their team-colored inflatable suits.

After the conclusion of the matches, there was an awards ceremony where recognition and trophies were gifted upon mentors and teams. Team 696 was actually bestowed the Excellence in Engineering Award, sponsored by Delphi.

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Past winners of the Woodie Flowers Award congratulating this year’s winner.

3/11/16 – Friday – Qualifications

This day was devoted to the qualification matches. These are where different teams are assigned with other ones to form groups of three, facing off other groups of three. As many teams were still working on their robots, it wasn’t uncommon to see fewer than the six called teams taking to the field. These matches were for the spectating Scouts to consider the different robots while the teams were being given ranks. Depending on whether they won the match or if they beat all the defenses, teams would be given ranking points, moving them up the rank numbers.

Team 696’s robot Banshee was called up for its first qualification round, the second match of the day. Banshee performed fairly well for its first actual run that wasn’t purely practice. These qualification rounds were played as if they were an elimination match, but with all team robots instead of just the top alliances.

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Banshee lined up for its match.

During Match 2, Banshee was able to score some low goals and even lift itself. This was a huge feat as no other robots have been shown to even be able to lift themselves. To be able to lift itself this early in the competition goes to show how essential Banshee can be in the elimination rounds.

The next time Banshee took the field was in Match 21. During this round, Banshee worked very well with its alliance members. Together, the trio were able to breach the Outerworks, gaining a rank point. Once again, Banshee hung itself at the end of the match.

Round 32 was the last match for the day in which Banshee would participate. During this round, Banshee shot many low goals and breached the Outerworks. At the end of the match, Banshee aligned itself with the enemy castle, hoisting itself up for the third time. Banshee was then the only robot to hang itself each and every time it went up in the qualification rounds. Team 696’s alliance won this match as well, gaining two more ranking points.

During this day, Arvin and Lousaper performed the Chairman’s interview. This took place around 11:20 and went very smoothly, the judges even complimented the duo on their appearance and their graceful professionalism.

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Louspaer and Arvin all dressed up prior to their presentation.

3/10/16 – Thursday – First Day at Competition

The first day of competition, this day would be solely for opening ceremonies, working on robots, and practicing on the field.

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Volunteers setting up the field for practice runs.

Team 696 members  met at Clark Magnet prior to 6:00 AM adorned in their Team’s shirt and black slacks. For many of the members this would be their first competition experience and they were obviously excited and a little nervous. They would be taken to the competition area via bus, which was scheduled to leave Clark at exactly 6:00 AM which is why they made sure to arrive before then.

The ride to the FRC venue, being held at the Long Beach Arena, took about an hour with very little traffic. Members chatted to each other throughout the ride, so it felt much shorter than it actually was.

Once there, Team 696 stood in line outside of the Arena’s closed doors. Once it turned 8:00 AM, they would open up and the teams would flood in, walking to the stands to secure their seating areas. As Team 696 was one of the first in line, they were able to get very nice seats. While waiting in line, members became fast friends with fellow FRC Team 987, High Rollers, who would themselves get the seats right next to Team 696 in the stands.

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Team 696 members waiting outside of the Long Beach Arena.

Team 696 members are split into three groups for competitions. One is the Scouts, who remain in the stands taking notes on different team’s performances. The other main group consists of those down in the pits – which is where the field was, but was also where each team set up their little workstations to modify their robots prior to matches – either working on the robot or making connections with other teams and people. The third group consists of only three people, and that is the Photography group.

The Photography group’s task is simple, take photos and videos to record all the different robots and each match. Andrea and Lauren mostly took photographs down in the Pit Area, taking pictures of each robot to later categorize the teams scouted by the Scouts. The third member of this group would be Samuel, who’s right now making this blog post as well. He would be up in the Stand Area with the Scouts, recording each match for later review by the members when deciding which Alliance we’d prefer.

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Photographer Andrea talking to fellow FRC team member next to Team 696’s pit and robot.

The Pit Crew consisted of a core group containing Jake, Lousaper, Anthony K., and Roupen. There was then the Drive Team who would be in the pits and would drive Banshee during matches. This consisted as Mika as the Human Player, Daniel who was the Driver, and Karin who was an Operator and helped Daniel.

Those down in the pits who weren’t directly working on the robot would tour the other pits and talk to judges. This helped spread our message through brochures that Nicole printed out earlier.

Up in the stands was a whole different story. The core Scouts were Jacob, James, Sipan, Dustin, Anthony C., and Eden. Their backups were Claire and Devon. During matches or qualifications their jobs were to record the data of what occurred for each competing team on their tablets. They used a site setup by member Luke, who spent the day debugging the system so it would be perfect for actual matches.

Banshee took the field a total of four times for the day. Each time it went out, it tried different mechanisms for the Pit Crew to see how much it could do as planned. They found that it had a bit of a problem shooting high goals, but was good in the low goals. Banshee was the only robot to have lifted itself successfully by the end of the day.