Over the past weekend, the unified high school robotics team, TEAM 3641, The Flying Toasters, competed at their first Michigan District Event, held at Lincoln HS, Ypsilanti.
Right from the start, the local commentary was calling the event, the Freeze Machine, with the featured match ups of Team 3641 vs. First in Michigan (All the other Michigan teams- link here).
With three bot alliance duking it out head to head, this year's game POWER UP, a retro 1980's style arcade theme became the test of who is faster, smarter, and more agile. Nail biting moments were plentiful as back and forth action to "own" a filed element meant that time was against you.
With a solid foundation; find success, and build on it; develop a plan and stick to it; be flexible and agile thinking; we over me; and stay the course, the Toasters persevered through the 12 qualification matches. Being first pick in the eliminations (like the sweet sixteen but with only 8 alliances), Team 3641 and their alliance breezed through the quarters, froze their competition in semis, and entered in Finals. With a 1-1 record in finals, the last match of the day would decide who was taking home the banner. Using solid statistics, and proven data, the head driver and drive coach made a Homer and the Iliad choice and move our robot to combat the adversary, head to head. If the "coin toss" went our way, we would be in the lead in autonomous play, if not we would recover. Only in a Greek Hero would the outcome be so emotional as the gamble paid off. Toasters won the "coin toss" and the adversaries could never keep up. The Flying Toasters were District Winners! and brought home a blue banner.
But like good literature, there was an underlying plot developing. Over the course of the three days, judges had been interviewing the students on the team as all eyes were descending upon the Toasters. Will they go four in four for the Chairman's Award? The Chairman's Award is most prestigious award at FIRST, it honors the team that best represents a model for other teams to emulate and best embodies the purpose and goals of FIRST.
As the awards were passed out it looked like Team 3641 would go home empty handed....until the last award, the chairman's award was presented.
TEAM 3641, The Flying Toasters, would instantly qualify for state championships as they are the Lincoln Event's Chairman's Award winners!
Michigan State Championships here we come!
See our performance at the Blue Alliance. In our 8 seasons, we have now qualified for Michigan State Championships 6 times, received the Chairman's Award 5 times, District Winners Twice, District Finalists 4 times, Qualified for World Championships three times and soon to make it a fourth. We are currently ranked 27th in the State of 556 teams, and 72nd in the World over 4500 teams.