QUEBEC CITY 2019
Long Boi Lennie
A WEEKEND OF FIRSTS
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Wow, the robotics season ended on a real high for LA Tech at the first ever Festivale de Robotique to be held in Quebec City.
After a solid showing in the Montreal event we went to Quebec knowing that all our hard work would make us more competitive at this second event of the season for us, but also well aware that the opposition would likely be of a higher calibre as well. The presence of teams from Australia, Turkey, Mexico, Brazil and the U.S. only added to the excitement of the challenge.
The Thursday began early with us leaving Lakeside at 4:30 am to make the trip up to Quebec. We went straight to the competition venue, Centre de Foires, and began setting up the pit and working on the robot. It quickly became apparent that all the adaptations we had made during the build were not going to fit easily onto our robot and that a lot of small, time consuming adjustments were going to be required.
The pit crew put in a massive amount of hard work but by 4pm we were still struggling and the decision had to be made to abandon our climbing mechanism in order to pass inspection and be ready to compete the following morning. Inspection was duly passed but we were left with no time to test any of the mechanisms, and it was a very tired and slightly dispirited group that made it to the Hotel Quartier for the night.
The following morning we were ready to compete and made it onto the field for our first game, not entirely sure what to expect. Our main drive team of Lex Sutton and Skye Miller made a great job of adapting to the changes to the robot and a fantastically close match came down to the wire. We waited with baited breath for the result to come up and incredibly the final score was a tie.
Our next two games were less fortunate, especially game three which paired us in an alliance with two of the strongest robots in the whole competition who unfortunately both had bad games at the same time. However we played a counter-defensive strategy in this match which certainly upset the opposition and was noticed by other teams.
The remaining four games of the day really went well for us and gave us four wins on the bounce and moved us well up the rankings into 12th place.It was a very happy group who made it back to the hotel and a good team meal at St.Hubert followed.
The Saturday morning set off with a bit of bad luck, when we were unable to compete after a number came off. The following game out hatch mechanism broke due to some severe contact with another robot. There was some very rapid work required in the pits from almost all the system teams including changing a motor, refitting 2 gear boxes, fixing the hatch mechanism and replacing 2 motor controllers. Despite all this we still managed to make all our games and finished the qualifiers in 22nd place with a 5-5-1 record.
This left us not really knowing if we would be selected for the alliances in the finals so we waited nervously as the selections were made. In the second round of picks the seventh place alliance asked for us to join them leading to great scenes in the stands as we realised the adventure went on, and it was with genuine pride that captain Keanu was able to go on the field and accept.
We then had to get ready for our quarter final game against the second placed alliance, a match we were certainly not expected to win. However a great choice of strategy, with us playing our counter-defense game, gave us an upset win in the first of the best of three games. In the second game the opposition put up a much better battle and we had to settle for a 1-1 tie which meant a deciding game.
Our alliance decided to try and put 2 robots on the top step in an effort to gain more points, but despite a valiant effort we did not quite have enough room and rolled off the top level but stayed on the six point step. Fortunately for us our opponents had also had some trouble during the game and we were able to claim a great win and move on to the semi-finals.
In the semis we were up against the number three alliance who had looked very strong in their quarter final win. They looked just as strong in out first game and claimed a comfortable win despite our best efforts. This left us on the brink of elimination as the second game started and the scoreboard certainly did us no favors as they piled up the points. However there were some penalties to be awarded and we had a really good climb at the end so we still had some hope.
When the result finally came through after a long delay it was a 61-61 tie, but became a win for us as we had less penalties. Once again a deciding game was required but this time our good fortune ended as the opposition put up a strong display and one of our alliance was unable to function for a large part of the game. Even here however we ended on a high as we managed to get 2 robots on the top step, the only time any alliance managed this during the whole competition. We were able to bow out with our heads held high, having lost to the eventual winners.
The final icing on the cake was that we were awarded a runners up medal in the safety award category, our first award of any sort at the senior competition. All in all an incredibly successful competition and a great weekend made possible by a lot of hard work, some fantastic mentors, great sponsors and most importantly a really good bunch of kids.
Long Boi Lennie