Chaos Vortex Experience at the FRC San Diego Regional Part 2

Wow, is all I can say, and I am not referring to the exhaustion or excitement of FRC. I am referring to the amazing things that my robotics students, Chaos Vortex/Team 3477 achieved this weekend. After a very long inspection process, my students did not get the driver practice they were hoping for. However, it was excellent for them to see how important attention to detail really is.

The following day (Friday) had one surprise after another. With its mechanism not fully functional and untested, the drive team decided to focus on blocking. This was a strategy that worked really well for us as a VEX team last year and many teams fail to see the importance of this. FRC has three teams on each alliance and if you can get one robot to score well for your side while one or two of the other robots block and prevent scoring for the other side, you can really control the game.

This was proven by the fact that our team was ranked in the top 10 for the entire competition out of 60. Our rookie team was blown away to find out that they were even in 1st place for an hour or so.

San Diego Regional is a high visibility event bringing incredible veteran teams like Spyder, Cheesy Poofs, and even our sister school's team the Holy Cows. We had a great time learning and seeing what other teams were doing both with their robots but also to spread the message of FIRST and STEM.

Friday afternoon, Jim Beck the Western Regional Coordinator for FIRST came to our booth. He said, "I keep hearing from the judges and the other teams about this rookie team Chaos Vortex, so I came to see it for myself." Our robotics President and our head of Finance spoke to him for a good amount of time. Soon after he came back with a camera crew from Time Warner Cable/Connect a Million Minds and said that the team was going to be recorded for a piece about FIRST Robotics!

Now everyone on our team was smiling ear to ear, and whats more we got our mechanism working so we were capable of scoring points. Other teams were coming to our booth asking to be on our alliance which was a new experience for us as we are not used to being asked, we are usually doing the asking. We were able to secure Team 1717 Dos Pueblos Engineering and Team 2102 Paradox onto our alliance making us a very formidable opponent. We made it all the way to the Semi-Finals which was exciting and I loved seeing our team go head to head with Team 254 Cheesy Poofs, a team that we respect greatly.

As the awards were being handed out, our small 15 person FRC team was proud of all they accomplished, but just when we thought that our day was done, we received the Rookie All Star award and the Highest Seed Rookie Award. We heard the stadium erupt with applause and recognition because each team had seen and commented on the gracious professionalism and coopertition that Chaos Vortex had at the competition. So now we are preparing for World Championship in St Louis in a little more than a month. There is so much to do but we are so grateful to be honored for the hard work put in this year.

Thank you to the teams, judges, and admin who made this regional one to always remember. My students have been transformed and are so passionate/motivated about STEM and their futures as only FIRST and robotics can. If you have any questions about starting an FIRST or VEX team please let me know.

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