Yes, I know I said I was done for the season. However, the level of play mountain teams elevated themselves to during the Championship was so high that I decided I would give you all a post-Championship summary of what happened during this absolutely bonkers weekend. I’ll go by division first, and then Einstein. Note that neither Hopper nor Roebling had any mountain teams play on Saturday, so I have omitted them.
Carver featured two things very prominently: red cards and surprising Cinderella stories. At the end of the qualifications, team 4911 from Seattle seeded first thanks to a stellar performance from them and a red card assessed to Israeli team 1690. They selected fellow Washingtonians 2910, as well as Arkansas team 5006. However, they also selected Colorado team 4499, who had a frustrating season up to this point and qualified for the Championship through the waitlist. Speaking of frustrating seasons, things finally went well for another Colorado team, 4944. After losing two of their first three matches, they won out for the remainder of the qualifications, ending with a final record of 8-2 and ending 7th. They were left to captain the 6th alliance, selecting HOF members 341 and 175, as well as Florida team 1369. The first alliance received a red card in their first eliminations match, but managed to be very careful for the remainder of the tournament and fought their way to the finals thanks to 2910’s very smooth cube delivery and 4499’s very effective defense. 4944, on the other hand, had a very uphill battle but rose to the challenge. Through a series of intense tiebreakers, they upset both 16 and 1690 in the quarter and semifinals. They were overpowered in the finals, but it is no small feat to go from never having won a divisional eliminations match to upsetting two incredibly powerful powerhouses. It was also the first time ever that the Hi-Fives had reached the finals, so they have a lot to be proud of. As for the Highlanders, they became one of two teams from Colorado to reach Einstein and represent their state on the field for the first time ever. The other will be mentioned soon.
There was only one mountain team to move into the divisional eliminations in Galileo, and that was 3374. They were the third pick of the fourth alliance, joining forces with powerhouses 4488 and 1574, along with 3965 of California. Despite being the final pick of their alliance, they were on the field for all but one of their alliance’s eliminations matches and played a crucial part in getting to the finals. Their skill at the vault and the switch came in handy, as did their effective defense. After bulldozing the 5th and 8th in the quarters and semis, they ran into opposition in the finals from the 7th alliance, who would take it to a third match. Ultimately, the RoboBroncs were subbed out for the final match in favor of the Sultans, who helped win it for the alliance and gave Wyoming its first ever appearance on Einstein.
Two mountain teams ended in the top 8; one being favored to do so and the other being a total surprise story. 3853 ended with a record of 9-1, and thanks to a capable robot and a number of strong 4 RP wins seeded third. 1619, on the other hand, gave a dominant performance in their matches until a 0 RP loss sent them into the seventh seed. Despite that, California powerhouse 1678 selected Up-A-Creek with the second overall pick after top seed 3310 had picked 118. Pridetronics went with 968, 4468, and 2367, and defending world champion 1011 was selected as the second pick of the eighth alliance. Unfortunately, Crush would not repeat as Einstein victor as they were eliminated in the quarterfinals by the incredibly powerful #1 alliance and Pridetronics would also be eliminated in the quarters by the #6 alliance. On the other hand Up-A-Creek, along with Citrus Circuits and their other picks 4061 and 1723, would win their quarter and semifinal matchups to reach the division finals. There, in a unbelievably close set of finals matches, their strategy allowed them to barely beat the Texas powerhouse duo in the first match. The second was even closer, but the #2 alliance beat the #1 alliance by two points, giving Citrus Circuits their sixth consecutive Einstein appearance and a long-awaited first visit to Up-A-Creek.
There were mountain teams on each of the top three alliances in the incredibly competitive Turing division. The number one alliance, consisting of PNW champions 2557 and 2471 and previous world champion 120, recruited the help of Idaho team 2130. The second alliance captain, 1806, selected 842 with their first pick and also invited rookie sensation 7179 and Arizona West regional winners 2478 to their alliance. The third alliance featured a familiar pairup: Vegas powerhouse 987 selected Idaho powerhouse 2122 to their alliance, having won Carver together one year ago. They then invited North Carolina team 2642 and PNW team 3663 to their alliance. During the first set of quarterfinals, the #1 alliance lost to the #8 alliance, and for the next match 2557 subbed in 2130 in favor of 120. Alpha+ helped their alliance win and force a tiebreaker, but unfortunately were eliminated in the third match. The second alliance used Falcon Robotic’s scale skills to sweep the #7 alliance, and the scale happy Highrollers-Tators combo lost the first match to 1538, barely forced a third match, and then won by a much larger margin in the tiebreaker. This pitted them against Falcon Robotics in the semifinals, and though Falcon managed to force a third round they were overwhelmed by the firepower from the #3 alliance and lost. In the finals, even though Highrollers and Tators played very well, they were eliminated by the upstart #8 alliance.
3374 was on the field for three of Galileo’s matches, and managed to help win one of them. Unfortunately, the Galileo alliance was not strong enough to beat anyone but the Turing alliance, but the RoboBroncs have a lot to be proud of. They were the first team from Wyoming to ever step foot on the Einstein field and have elevated their game and their status this season. Their win on Galileo was also the first time the team had ever won an event. Congratulations to them!
As for Newton, they were strong but not strong enough. They lost to the 254-headed Hopper alliance and then failed to beat the surprisingly strong Carver alliance. However, they won all three of their remaining Einstein matches, which meant 1619 and the other members of their alliance would end third place in the world. Not bad for a first time on the Einstein Field!
Finally, Carver came out of the gate swinging for the fences. They absolutely dominated the round robin tournament, and only lost to Hopper. This put them in the second place position and gave 4499 a trip to the Einstein finals on their first visit there. They would ultimately be just another stepping stone for 254’s perfect season, but there’s no doubt the Highlanders made it farther than they ever could have imagined. They should be proud of their success and be motivated to go all the way to the end next year.
And that’s it! Congratulations to the three mountain teams that made the Einstein field, and great job to all the others than participated in the Championship. The mountain region has really stepped up its game since last season and can only continue to get better. Have a great offseason!