The Michigan State Championship (MSC), held at Eastern Michigan University from April 11th to 13th, showed FIRST what the ThunderChickens are made of, and showed our team the power of not giving up.
At the Troy District Event, the students on our team were on the edge of their seats after every match, anxiously hoping that we would qualify for MSC. Our surprise when we not only qualified, but ended up winning the tournament with our alliance partners, Team 469, the Las Guerillas, and Team 3539, the Byting Bulldogs, was indescribable.
Our qualification match record at MSC was 5-7, and we were seeded 42nd. We had a very tough match schedule, and had multiple difficulties with our robot, from battery issues to climber problems. One of our mentors even commented that we ran into every possible issue an FRC team could incur.
Alliance selection began, and we all watched attentively as the top eight teams picked their second alliance partners. Once this occurred, the eighth seeded alliance had their first choice of a third robot. The eighth, seventh, sixth, fifth, fourth, and third alliance all went without picking us, and our team was definitely wondering if this would be the first competition we would go without making it to elimination matches this season.
But, we were fortunate enough to be picked by the second seeded alliance! Team 469 was the alliance captain, and we were overjoyed at having the chance to be their alliance partner. The interesting thing about our alliance this time was the fact that our drive coach, Paul Copioli, and Team 3539’s drive coach, Mike Copioli, were brothers. It made for a very interesting dynamic.
We adapted to being a third robot in multiple ways; our drive team adjusted their driving so that we’d play more defensively. Additionally, for the finals, we actually added a net of pool noodles that would block disks being shot from the feeding zone, which was a strategy that Team 67 often used.
Our alliance sailed through the quarterfinals and semifinals, but we were holding our breath as we lost our first final match to the first seeded alliance, which consisted of Team 67, Team 2054, and Team 2337. We pulled through though, and won our last two matches with a score of 190-118 and 145-109.
Our entire team ran out to the field when we won, and we were absolutely euphoric. Our PR team also had the chance to present for the Engineering Inspiration award, because we won the award at the Troy District Event, but we unfortunately didn’t win at MSC.
However, this didn’t temper our excitement, and our team is now anxiously waiting to board our bus to go to St. Louis for the World Championship! We leave this Wednesday, the 24th, and return on the 27th. Whether we win or lose, this upcoming week will be very memorable and huge bonding experience for our team.