There are 5 Michigan districts this week and I hope to do a preview for each event, as well as ranking each event. This is Rank 3 for 2023 Week 1, Calvin University.
Calvin University District
Last Year Winners (3357-2075-6128)
Favorites: Calvin University is a great example of what I see as the average Michigan District. 3 great teams at the top, a second small group of good teams, and then followed by a large group of teams at around the same skill level. At the very top of the team list is 3357-COMETS, who had an absolute dominant season at the Michigan level in 2022. Looking more in depth, you will notice that at 3 of their competitions, including last year’s Calvin University District, they were with Team 2075; but sadly they won’t be able to continue that streak, as Enigma Robotics decided to go elsewhere. The question becomes which team will they be allied with, and more than likely win alongside. That is where the real challenge about Calvin University comes to a head. There are two main candidates, Team 2054-Tech Vikes and 1918-NC Gears. My initial guess is 2054, who did substantially better at MSC last season than 1918, but to be honest it’s a coin flip. Especially considering that both 2054 and 1918 faced off at the West Michigan District Finals last season, where 1918 ultimately came out on top. 3357 would be lucky to pair with either team to help them win the district, but they’re still going to have to play at the highest level to make sure that they’re not the one that gets left out, and goes home empty handed.
Contenders: Now if for some reason the Favorites don’t run away with it, or rather the team that gets left out needs some help, there are two teams waiting in the wings. Team 85-B.O.B. and 1711-RAPTORS. 85 is a newcomer to Calvin University, but they are a welcome addition as this past season saw them as an Alliance Captain at Worlds; alongside two top 4 finishes at the district level. Now 1711 does have one thing above 85, that being a blue banner from last season, a Rank 1 Win at Traverse City. The Raptors do come with some baggage though, as they were the 3 Seed Captain at Calvin University in 2022, but lost in a sweep the first round. Now there were many other teams I looked at for my last Contender slot, and ultimately I decided on a team a little lower on my shortlist than anticipated. That being 4967-That ONE Team. That ONE Team actually beat Team 85 at Gull Lake last season , but ultimately settled for a Finalist appearance. They may not have had a better 2022 then some of the other names on this list, but last season they made a very unique robot that showed some great engineering skill and impressed me. My hope is they come up with another unique design to tackle this year’s game, and take a shot at the top of the leaderboard.
Outside Looking in:
2771-Code Red Robotics the Stray Dogs
Playoff Teams to Make a Jump:
4377-Boyne City Blaze
1 Seed 3357-2054 v 2 Seed 1918-85
Next up is Rank 2, Kettering 1.