There are 5 Michigan districts in this final week of regular season competition, and I will do a preview for each event. I will also be ranking the events, this is Rank 3 for 2023 Week 5, Saline.
Last Year Winners (3538-1023-5559)
Favorites: One of the few cities I know solely based on robotics, and couldn’t point it out on a map if my life depended on it, Saline. This the first event this week with a not so standout team at the front of the pack, but if there was one to go with it would be the lone winner, 6081-Digital Dislocators. 6081 was a team that I was not very familiar with, and wasn’t on my radar at all on my Calvin University preview, all the way back in week 1; but I surely know them now, the finished Rank 3 and were the first pick of the 1 Seed captain 3357. They were instrumental to that win back then and I expect nothing less than to see them back on top in Saline. They’re not alone in this category though, as 5050-Cow Town Robotics is right behind them. 5050 may have underperformed in qualifications, ranking just 9th at Belleville, but were still able to help a 3 Seed make the Finals: with this alliance never scoring under 120 points, apart from one fluke 88. Cow Town should look to take home a blue banner and up their streak to 3 seasons in a row with at least one win (excluding 2020). My last favorite is the team as old as I am, 107-Team R.O.B.O.T.I.C.S. They finished 9th at West Michigan last week, but were not selected to join an alliance. Instead, they were the captains of the 6 Seed, who outperformed expectations and finished in 3rd place. They didn’t go home without a win though, as they brought home the FIRST Impact Award. They should hope to add another banner to this year’s collection this weekend, but this time for on the field performance, instead of off.
Contenders: The first contender is a team I really wanted to put into Favorite, 862-Lightning Robotics. 862 had issues on the first day of the Lansing District, but got it together going into playoffs and was indeed selected to join 51 on the 1 Seed. They didn’t end up winning due to 51’s mechanical problems, but I am confident they will make a return trip to the Finals, I’m just not sure if they are good enough to win it. The last two Contenders spots I am giving to two teams had mixed performances at their first districts but are looking to change that in Saline, 4405-The Atoms Family and 5066-Singularity. 4405’s arm is a team I had high hopes for in Belleville, who only finished 17th in qualifying, but was the first selection for alliance 6. I am hoping 4405 made some changes to their rather inconsistent arm, and go try to secure a place at MSC this weekend. 5066 on the other hand finished 7th at Jackson in Week 1, and despite getting swept in the playoffs as the 5 Seed Captain, I think the 4 weeks off had them make drastic improvements to a rather solid robot for a week 1 event. I can easily see them finish in the top 8 once again in Saline.
3322-Eagle Evolution-17 at Jackson, Finalist
5641-Byron Robotics-10 at Kettering 1, 5th
Playoff Teams to Make a Jump:
1504-Desperate Penguins-28 at Lakeview 1, 5th
904-D Cubed-28 at Muskegon, Finalist
7225-Mechatronic Mustangs-35 at Milford, Finalist
815-Advanced Power-18 at Detroit, 5th
1076-Pi Hi Samurai-26 at Kettering 2
1 Seed 5050-6081 v 2 Seed 862-107
Next up is Macomb Community College.