Last weekend five of our 6 team members were able to make the overnight trip to Kettering University and compete with 43 other Michigan teams. Michigan has the highest density of schools with robot teams and South Eastern Michigan is the heart of it.
Team members Steven Koppel, Cameron Goebel, Georgia McDowell, Ethan Wiseley, and Bryce Baldwin made the trip.
Kettering had more entries than previous years so the number of matches had to be reduced to keep to a single (long) day schedule. With only five matches, the team chose to use a different driver for each match. This decision did not make for the best chance for scoring well but it did allow team members the opportunity to experience the intensity of driving in competition as well as ‘pay back’ some of the kids that had put in work, and wanted to drive in matches, but had not been able to so.
The rookies and experienced drivers all were able to produce 2-3 gear transfers and successful climbs. The team also did a great job of trouble shooting some technical issues in the heat of the moment. Moments like this is where the real ‘teaching’ of this program comes through as the kids try to troubleshoot a malfunctioning robot, under a time constraint, knowing that you will let other teams down if it is not fixed. Issues included; troubleshooting and replacing a non-functioning climb motor, changing bumper color with tape (the team forgot our red bumpers), remounting a loose router and some solenoids.
Although due to poor team paring, and our decision to change drivers each match, we did not score well overall, but we are considering the event an overwhelming success in that each of the kids had the opportunity to drive and operate any position on the field.
For me, the coach, I actually advanced to the semi-finals in the mentor matches on Friday night without ever have driven the robot previously. I even climbed twice!