Northern Lights Regional 2019

Our first regional event of 2019 was held at the Duluth Entertainment Convention Center (DECC) from March 6th to March 9th in Duluth, Minnesota. There were 2 regional events happening at the DECC, they were called Northern Lights and Lake Superior. Combined these events have over 120 teams making this one of the biggest event outside of the world championships!

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     Our first day at the Northern Lights Regional began on Thursday. The first day of any FIRST competition is called practice day. It starts off with robot inspections and then you’re allowed to play some matches. Our pit crew and drive team were hard at work adding the additional parts that we designed on the practice bot onto the competition robot, as well as getting our robot inspected. Up in the stands, we taught our new students the team chant, our signature squats and most importantly scouting. Towards the end of practice day, we were informed that qualification matches would be starting at 7:30 AM on Friday and Saturday .

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The official qualification matches began on Friday, as well as the Chairman interview and submitting the Entrepreneurship award. Qualification matches means that the result (win or lose) of your match will have an effect on your rank. In Destination: Deep space, there's different varieties of ways that points can be earn, here is video that furthermore explains the point system (1:30). Overall, the total matches we played on Friday was 7. We had 4 wins, 2 losses, and one tie, which led us to be in the top half of the teams. During the matches our overall performance went great! For example, our first match we placed 2 hatch panels onto the top rocket, and with the help of our teammates, we were able to take the win. Aside from the matches being played, Sam, Leon, and Alex were our presenters for the Chairman's interview and the judges overall were impressed to hear that they are all freshman! In the pits, Gwen answered questions from judges, parents and kids. She and Sam also submitted the business plan for the Entrepreneurship award. They handed the business plan to the judges so they could evaluate the submission and come back with questions and comments like: what’s the strengths and weakness of the team, how does the team manage funding and more. The feedback that they had received from them was wonderful! They found our business plan to be very enjoyable, excellent formatting and were intrigued by how our team built a fine robot with a decent amount of funding.

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Saturday was the last day of the competition, but there were still qualification matches that needed to be played before alliance selection and award ceremony. We had 2 matches left to play, we were placing cargo into the cargo ship for the majority of the 2 matches we had left. At the end of the qualification matches,  our official rank came to be 16 out of 60 teams! Then after all the matches were played, it was the kickoff of alliance selection. This is when the top 8 teams become alliance captains and they can select 2 other teams to be on their alliance. We were honored to be picked by the 3rd alliance captained by team 2823 and team 3100. After the alliances were picked, the elimination matches began. On a surprising note, our alliance captain requested that we become a full on defense robot. Our team had never played defense in the qualification matches, but we gave it a try. It went pretty well overall, although it did cause our robot to take some damage especially to the right drive train. During the quarterfinals, we were up against alliance 6, We lost our first round and then later won the second round which caused a tiebreaker match to be played to determine which alliance would go into the semi-finals.The tiebreaker match score came in and we won! We had a total of 69 points and they had 49 points. Since we won the quarterfinals, our alliance advanced to the semi-finals. Things got very intense during the semi-finals matches. In both rounds, we quickly made our way to the red alliance and fiercely blocked our opponents from placing any hatch panels and cargo. We lost both rounds which meant we did not  move onto the finals. We’re truly glad to have come this far and finishing as semi-finalists at the Northern Lights Regional!

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A great way to wrap up the competition is with an award ceremony. Our team received the Entrepreneurship award. This award is about how a team uses a business plan to define how the team is structured and how a team operates. We would like to say a big thank you to Sam for showing dedication and immense effort to take on the tasks of this award. Overall we had a blast at the Northern Lights regional! There were many great laughs and memories here. Our team will be going to our second regional of the season which is the Minnesota North Star Regional. This regional will be taking place at the University of Minnesota Mariucci arena from March 27 to March 30, we hope to see you there!


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