On the afternoon of March 6th, 2019, Stampede 3630 cleaned out the lab, strapped down their robot, and packed full the Yukon. Mr. Lampe and six students began the journey north to Darling Duluth at 5:20 pm. Three hours later, after one gas stop, three bags of potato chips, eight games of 20 questions, and countless laughs later, the Yukon arrived at the Duluth Entertainment Convention Center (aka the DECC). With only 40 minutes left to unpack and set-up, the group hastily began wheeling in carts and containers to their well-placed pit. Promptly at 9 the weary group left the pit (unorganized and full) and drove the short distance to the hotel.
Thursday morning came and the six set out to finish the pit and start unpacking the robot. The morning was full of slight adjustments, and short practice runs. The rest of the team arrived shortly after lunch, just in time for the practice matches. The DECC was bustling with excitement as the team went this way and that, all finding something different to work on. Some were volunteering at the crossroads or the safety glasses tables, some were practicing for chairman’s, others were scouting out fellow pits, and still others were working hard on the robot. There was never a shortage of activities for the group, and the hustle and bustle only added to the excitement of the coming day. The worn out members of the 3630 pit dragged their feet back to the hotel around 9, and after a quick dinner it was off to bed for the team.
Friday came early, but the excitement is what got the kids out of bed. With their new Stampede shirts and safety glasses, they headed to the DECC for Day 1 of prelims. Our robot did well, but it’s real hidden speciality was defense. The bot raced around the field, preventing the other alliances from placing hatches and storing cargo. At one point during the day, 3630 was ranked 5th in the Northern Lights Regional. Their was bad weather in the forecast, and FIRST made the decision to lengthen the day so as to get finished earlier on Saturday. This meant more matches and more scouting for Stampede. By the end of the day, they were ranked 11th and ready for the final prelims.
Despite losing their final prelims Saturday morning, the 3630 were selected by the Number 1 Alliance (captained by the 2052 KnightKrawler) along with the 525 Swartdogs - a welcome surprise. The quarterfinals came and went, losing only the first match. Then the semifinals - two tense matches that led to raised heart rates and intensified nail biting. It was time for the finals, and the number 1 alliance was ready. Between their third level climb, precise hatch placements, and our defense, we successfully defeated the other number 2 alliance and were crowned 2019 Northern Lights Regional Winners!!
At the award ceremony, besides being presented with our blue banner and victory plaque, the team also was named Safety Runner-Up and received the Innovation in Control Award (sponsored by Rockwell Automation)!! The regional was a huge success for the team, and we’re going to Detroit!! Congrats 3630!!