March Newsletter

IMG_0171We kicked off March by travelling to our first regional for this year: the Great Northern Regional in Grand Forks, North Dakota.  After an over 8 hour bus ride, we were ready for the regional to begin.  Thursday contained practice matches which gave our drive teams the chance to compete on the real field before the actual matches.  On Friday, we competed in qualification matches, ending the day with only losing two matches.  The scouting group led the team in using our new paper scouting method, the Chairman’s group presented for a group of judges, and the team ended the day with a giant scouting meeting, where we discussed all of the amazing robots.  On Saturday, after playing the rest of the qualification matches, we e241A2181nded the competition seeded as the number 2 team with a record of 9 wins and 2 losts.  As the captains of the 2nd seeded alliance, we invited team 3750 Gator Robotics and team 5638 LQPV Robotics to join our alliance.  During playoffs, we won both of our quaterfinal matches.  We won the first semi-final match but lost the second one, sending us into a tiebreaker match.  We won the tiebreaker match, sending us to the finals.  Sadly, we lost both finals matches to the 1st seed alliance, but we still had a really exciting time.  As the alliance captain for the finalist alliance, we were awarded a wild card, meaning we will be travelling to the Championships in Detroit this April!  We are very excited for this amazing opportunity.

Waverly Visit

Soon after we got back, a local FTC team from Waverly visited our build site to learn more about FRC.  They are considering starting a FRC team at their school.

Over spring break, FRC team 6630 practiced driving their robot using our field at our build site.  We had a great time running Screenshot 2018-04-11 at 3.57.51 PMpractice matches.  During the 2 weeks between getting back from North Dakota and our next regional, we were all hard at work.  The mechanical group improved the climber.  The programming group created new autonomous programs.  The scouting group improved the paper scouting methods.  The awards group continued practicing the Chairman’s presentation and created a new handout to give to the judges.  Plus, the finance group looked for new fundraising opportunities for our trip to the Championships. 

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We ended the month of March with our final regional for this year, the Iowa Regional.  This regional is extra special because it is in our hometown!  Our team provided part of the practice field and set it up on Wednesday.  Thursday was busy with practice matches, testing autonomous programs and presenting to judges for the Chairman’s Award.  We enjoyed getting to know team 1156 Under Control from Brazil when we joined them at IHOP for dinner that night.  One of the nice things about the Iowa Regional is the diversity of the teams.  We welcomed a total of 61 teams to the Iowa Regional from 8 states and 3 countries.  On Friday, we participated in the qualification matches. We won all but one qualification match that day!  Over 400 4th graders from Cedar Falls elementary schools were bused to the Iowa Regional on Friday.  Swartdog students served as ambassadors taking the 4th graders to the pits in the UNI Dome and matches in McLeod.  Students learned about the opportunities they have in FIRST now and in the future.  Friday night we joined other teams at the UNI Wellness Center for the team social.  We ended the night with a team scouting meeting.

Due to the overnight snowfall, we had a late start on Saturday.  We started the day with the opening ceremonies where Swartdog mentors Bob and Debbie Guetzlaff were honored with the Volunteer of the Year Award.  They were recognized for volunteering at FRC regionals throughout the midwest and in China, FIRST Championships in St. Louis and Houston, and at FLL regional qualifiers and the Iowa FLL State Championships.  We are very proud of all of their work with FIRST.

After qualification matches we were ranked 6th with a 7-2 record. During the alliance selections, we were the number one pick by team 3928 Team Neutrino and were joined by team 5914 Robotic Warriors.

Saturday afternoon consisted of the playoff matches, which were very exciting and nerve racking. We lost in the finals, but we’re proud to receive the finalist award and the Judges’ Award during the award ceremony. We are now looking ahead to fundraising for our trip to Detroit for the world championship!

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