For four amazing days at the end of April, FIRST Team 3528 — Up Next! was in St. Louis for the 2012 FRC World Championship! This was our second trip in as many years. In 2011, we qualified as the Greater Kansas City Rookie All-Star. This year, as previously noted, by winning the Oklahoma City Regional, we earned a ticket to this amazing event.
Participating in the premier FIRST Robotics event with 400 teams from the U.S., Canada, Israel, Mexico, and Australia, along side some of the smartest and most talented kids ever. Better yet, we were all intent on doing the same thing: competing at the highest-level possible while still remaining gracious and extending friendship and help so that everyone had a chance to compete!
How best to describe the competition itself? The 400 teams were divided into divisions and we played on four separate fields in the Edward Jones Dome: Curie, our division; Archimedes, Galileo and Newton. These fields only took up part of the space. There were two fields devoted entirely to FIRST Tech Challenge, another field where FIRST Lego League was placed and still another FRC field, Einstein, where the final Championship matches were held. On Einstein, the division champions play for the title of the FIRST Champion.
We arrived in St. Louis Wednesday afternoon and took our place in line to unload our stuff. We quickly uncrated the robot and were the first team inspected on the Curie field! We returned to the hotel early and was able to get settled in quickly.
Thursday morning came early, we were at the Edward D. Jones Dome by 7:45 ready for day 2.
Just walking around the stadium to the stands for our division took a lot of time. For the most part, it was worth the walk from pits to stands just to see our 2012 Robot, Wilson, do what he does best, playing the Rebound Rumble game. Our morning practice match went well and realized once again that the simple design of the dumping robot was very reliable against even the best shooters. We made our way through the qualification matches on Thursday, Friday, and Saturday morning with a record of 7-2, seeded 7th in our division. With 100 teams in each division, there was a lot of time in between matches.
In our down time, many of us took the advantage of visiting with the many vendors that had set up booths. There were demonstrations by some of the biggest names in technology, such as Microsoft. There was also several of the big name engineering colleges and universities available to talk with students.
Alliance selections took place before lunch on Saturday. We ended up as the number 6 alliance captain. Our first partner selected was an awesome shooter from the Lonestar State: FRC Team 1477 Texas Torque. When our turn came around again, we selected FRC Team 1741, Red Alert from Indiana.
Our quarterfinal matches put our alliance against the number 3 alliance of teams 1986, 1678, and 85. Our alliance decided the best way to play this game was to send on robot over to play defense, one robot to gather and feed balls to the other side, leaving one robot to shoot from the key. 1741 took on the task of defense, Up Next also crossed over the bridge to gather balls and feed them to the shooter of the team, 1477. This strategy work amazingly well. We lost the first quarterfinal match 60-62, but came back in the final two matches, winning 72-71 and 46-45. I don’t think there was any quarterfinal matches on Curie that were that close!
During the semi-finals, we competed against the eventual Curie division champions- teams 233, 987, and 207. Although we lost both matches, our alliance had the highest scores our team had ever achieved all season. We lost to a very tough set of competitors. Up Next! would like to thank Texas Torque and Red Alert for an awesome run!
Now that Wilson is back home in our build room, it is time to unpack, reorganize and set our sights on next season.