Robots Invade Las Vegas

Robots Invade Las Vegas

Team 1717 competes in quarter final at Las Vegas Regional FIRST Robotics Competition

Fifty robots, fifty teams of high school students, fifty groups of dedicated mentors.  Teams from Germany, Holland, Mexico and Australia added to the challenge with large enthusiastic teams to match the enthusiasm of the D’Penguineers.  This is the challenge that the local Dos Pueblos High School robotics team 1717 stepped up to this weekend.  Fresh off a victory in Long Beach two weeks ago, Team 1717 is back again to make a statement.  Starting the day off right, they won their first match 80-44, but had trouble locking in their target the second game, and lost 74-93. They made some changes and implemented a new program for their third match, and won 134-27.  The fourth and fifth matches followed suit, with two wins of 134-53 and 91-41. Their last match was against the robot deemed the most difficult opponent, and they lost a close 88-116. At the end of the day, they were ranked 4th.
Although they have already qualified for World Championships with their win in Long Beach, nobody on Team 1717 is giving less than 110%. Bryce Marshall, a member of the team, is still “looking forward to the competition. I want to win again, and make a statement to everybody.” They were up against a similar challenge in Long Beach, but this time around the competition is much more intense. According to one of the lead strategists for the team, “The level of competition at the Las Vegas has been raised about fifty percent from the intensity of Long Beach, there are a lot more top-tier robots here.”  Unlike in Long Beach, several teams are able to vacuum up Frisbees, not just Team 1717’s PenguinBot.  And more than a few can climb to the top of the tower.  All of the teams have had more time to prepare, and the students of Team 1717 have already put in countless hours making improvements to the robot since their success in Long Beach. On Thursday, many of the students spent nearly eleven hours in the “pit”; a ten-by-ten foot section of the Las Vegas Cashman Center, where they implemented all of the improvements that had been made since they shipped the robot in late February. Friday began at 5 am, preparing for the first round of qualification matches. Amir Abo-Shaeer, lead mentor and founder of Team 1717, commented that “the purpose of our practice matches was not to go out and dominate, but to improve our shooting strategy.” Regardless, they won every practice match they were a part of. This is drastically different than just two weeks ago, the day before the qualification matches started in Long Beach.   Team member Zac Garza, feels “confident in our robot’s ability to perform and our drivers’ dedication to lead the team. Our robot is much more reliable than it was two weeks ago.” Two weeks ago, they swept away the entire competition, finishing in the top alliance out of over sixty teams. Garza also added that “Las Vegas is a time for us to iron out all of the kinks before the World Championships in Saint Louis.”
Qualifying rounds continue Saturday morning with the top 8 ranked teams granted the privilege of selected their 2nd and 3rd alliance members for the finals Saturday afternoon.   Team 1717 is amped up to do their best once again.

The Dos Pueblos Engineering Academy Media Relations Team includes Malika Agrawal, Shauny Grant, Alanna Kjoller, Erendiz Tarakci and Caroline Whelan.