Trois Rivieres 2023
A Roller Coaster Competition With a Magic Chair!
LA Tech 4955 have just returned from their FRC competition in Trois Rivieres with a spring in their step and a host of memories to look back on.
The three-day event was a real roller coaster for the team, ranging from near despair on Thursday to elation on Saturday as our robot, the QuinnMobile, turned in shock after shock before we eventually bowed out at the semi-final stage.
Thursday is a practice and inspection day at these events, and it felt like anything that could go wrong did go wrong on that first day. Our robot arm, which was the main device we had for scoring, repeatedly broke as we made contact with the very solid game structures on the field and our inspection failed due to some issues with our bumpers. The team was obviously very low at this point but as a group, we decided the best thing to do would be to remove the arm and play the game differently to how we had intended, we would become a defensive robot. This change was achieved rapidly by our amazing pit crews under the leadership of mentor Jonathon De Luca. As for the bumpers, at 8 pm on Thursday night, we were running to Home Depot to buy the materials that we needed, and then the entire team joined in on making two new sets for the following day. There were some very tired people by midnight that day!
The following morning a bleary eyed team made our way to the Colisee Videotron for the qualification matches not too certain what the day would hold. Our first step was to pass inspection which our new bumpers did easily and we were cleared to compete.
After negotiation with our alliance partners we decided to deploy a mostly defensive strategy before balancing on the charging station at the end of the match. These tactics worked perfectly and we had our first win in qualifying. After this the good times just kept on rolling with our drive team under mentor Gary Kennedy doing a stellar job in making some really good robots look very ordinary. Our style and reputation gained some notice as the day went on and we became known as the Magic Chair! No obvious way of scoring but we kept on winning.
By the time qualification ended on Saturday we had a 7 and 2 record and qualified in 7th place out of 46 teams, a great achievement considering we were competing against teams from the US, France, China, Taipei and Turkey as well as across Quebec.
This meant that we became an alliance captain and had to choose 2 other teams to compete with us in the play off rounds. With the help of our scouting team we were able to make a wise choice and went with team 2220 Twilight Blue from Minnesota and our very own team 3985 Sonic Howl from La Salle.
The alliance worked really well together and far exceeded everyone’s expectations in eventually making it all the way to the semi final stage before we were beaten. A fabulous effort in trying circumstances made all the sweeter by being able to share it with our friends from Sonic Howl and earning that sobriquet of The Magic Chair!
Mavis Quinn Zelensky
First Competition After Covid
For many on our team, this was their first competition and they had to learn a lot. This year's competition was held at Bombardier in Montreal, where we did amazing!
When arriving at the competition we had no expectations. We knew how our robot functioned and what the task for the competition was, but nothing else. Many of us were overwhelmed and excited. The set-up was incredible and everyone was very friendly while being competitive. Once the competition started the team held their breath. The first clash would set the mood, and everything was tense. Our drivers were ready, they were focused and had trust in our robot.
Mavis Quinn Zelensky pulled through and impressed the whole competition. We went with a simple yet effective design. This year's mod o was KISS - Keep It Simple Stupid. Every time we were faced with a problem we took a deep breath and implemented the most logical solution. Our Beautiful Robot stunned it's opponents and left them quivering.
Here's what our Team Captain Samatha DeLuca had to say about the competition;
"When first coming back to Robotics after 2 years, I was intimidated by how much I missed and how much I had to learn. New people were joining, and a new mindset was brought to our team. From deciding what we wanted our robot to do, all the way to actually completing the build was a long but worthwhile process. I am beyond proud of our team and what we’ve accomplished throughout our season; completing our bot with time to spare, helping our community, and having fun during those little breaks.
I am immensely proud of how we all came together as a team after starting out practically as strangers. Everyone collaborated as a dedicated team and worked extremely hard on the bot. I would like to sincerely congratulate each one of you. Our team is like a family, and I hope that next year you can all continue to be as close and committed as we are now.
Thank you to all the mentors who always took time out of their day to help teach us different skills - Mr. Preston for always encouraging us to be the best we can be, John for helping us become more confident in our team, Ms. Sherri for providing us with food, Gary for helping us with any and all questions we had, Mr. Nicholson for always being available to support us, Mr. Barre for woodworking expertise, Souly for guidance in electrical work, Mr. Coté who does all, and a special mention to my Dad who was always ready to help and so many others in our Lakeside community for always being there for us. Each of you are an integral part of what holds our team together and gives it strength, even if you don’t believe it. You helped us create the best bot we could and always guided us through difficult tasks. Your constant helpfulness and moral support made our team better. Thank you all for making Nico’s, Gavin’s and my own last season, a season to remember.
Thank you to all those who followed our journey and cheered us on.
All in all this year's competition was fun, perplexing, and riveting. We can't wait till next year's competition where we hope to do better than we did this year! And although we say goodbye to our wonderful Captain Samantha, Vice Captain Nico, and Electronics major Gavin, we're left with their imprint and influence. Thanks for a terrific competition and an amazing year!
QUEBEC CITY 2019
Long Boi Lennie
A WEEKEND OF FIRSTS
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.
FOR MORE INFO VISIT THEBLUEALLIANCE.COM
Long Boi Lennie