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 4 for 2023 Week 1, Jackson.
Last Year Winners (107-3322-4776)
Favorites: I have Jackson as the second lowest ranked Michigan event for the week but as I started looking into the teams, it is more than likely on par with my 3rd Ranked event, Calvin University. Looking at the team list, there are two clear standouts, 1023-Bedford Express and 3322-Eagle Evolution. 1023 has been one of the best teams in Michigan for a long time, and last season was no different. Bedford Express was a Winner at Saline and Finalist at Calvin University. Apart from a less than ideal performance at States and Worlds, they are definitely the clear favorite at Jackson. Now right behind them is last year’s Jackson district winner, 3322. Eagle Evolution has been a team that has always competed at a high level that just couldn’t seem to win more than their singular blue banner from 2012. However, last season, they added two to their rafters, and one of those being from MSC. As the current Jackson champion, I can easily see them repeating. The last team I want to add to this tier was the 1st Ranked team in last year’s Jackson District, 5084-Team FridgeBot. Not only do they have a top 10 team name, but 5084 were kings of qualification matches last year. Ranking 1st, 1st, 3rd and 6th across all their events. Unfortunately they did not fare as well in the playoffs, only finishing as Finalist twice, finishing the season bannerless. It’s not out of the realm of possibility for FridgeBot to finish at a high rank and pair with another Contending Team, or even better 1023 or 3322, and make a run at a medal.
Contenders: If Bedford fails to win the event, or rather is looking for a partner to help secure another Blue Banner for their collection, look no further than these three teams. 4381-Twisted Devils, 302-The Dragons and 2834-Bionic Black Hawks. Twisted Devils swept at the district levels, winning both Gull Lake and Kentwood in 2022. Though not the most competitive events, wins at the district level are very different than at MSC and Worlds, especially week 1. Your robot has to be ready from the jump and the game still has to be figured out, and since 4381 was a part of FUN premiere night, they are clearly ready for week 1. 302 was almost the opposite of team 4381, where their best performance came at MSC. The dragons are arguably a top 25 team in Michigan, but I have one hiccup with them, going into the season. Not only did they have a not so great start to 2022, they also didn’t compete until Week 3, and not in Michigan till Week 4. So with having at least 2 weeks less build time as last season, I struggle to put them in the Favorite tier. So they end up here in Contenders. Lastly, is the hall of fame team, 2834. Bionic Black Hawks have struggled to win after their top of the mountain performance at 2017 MSC. They should hope to rewrite the narrative, finishing as Finalists in both of their districts last season was a start to this, and hopefully in 2023 take home a long awaited banner in week 1.
Outside Looking In:
2832-The Livonia Warriors
Playoff Teams to Make a Jump:
4216-Blue Ops Robotics
6861-The Tyros Team
1 Seed 1023-4381 v 2 Seed 5084-3322
Next up is Rank 3, Calvin University.