Mountain Man’s Summit: Week 6
To Summit Up-Week 5 Recap:
Idaho was a fun event to watch. 2122 showed massive improvement, and their scale-oriented machine got them to the top of the rankings by the end of the qualifications. They chose to partner with the equally impressive 1619 robot, and got the help they needed with the vault in 3145. Though their alliance was strong, it was no easy path to the finals. 1983, 3256, and 4598 forced three rounds with the number one alliance, and the top alliance needed to fire on all cylinders to win. On the opposite side of the competition 3239, 2130, and 3288 managed to pull off an upset of 3230, 3128, and 1891 to meet the Tators in the finals. There, the top seeded alliance had a thoroughly dominant win, giving the Tators and TeraViks their first win of the season, and giving Up-A-Creek their second. Idaho rookie 7301 won the Rookie All-Star Award, California team 3598 won the Engineering Inspiration Award, and Colorado team 4944 finally qualified for the Championship by winning their second-ever Chairman’s Award. Congratulations to all teams that won hardware!
This event is a little unusual in the sense that no outside challengers will be attending. Every single team on the roster is from the mountain region. While teams won’t have to worry about any outsiders sandbagging the event, it will still be a tight competition as this is the last chance these teams have to qualify for the Championship. Prepare for a hard-fought regional in Phoenix this weekend.
2478 was the captain of the only semifinals alliance in Flagstaff that didn’t have a powerhouse team on it. Their cube-shooting machine was impressive but not enough to beat 254, who built what is maybe the greatest robot ever seen in the FRC. They’ve had a few weeks to perfect their aim, and with no true powerhouses coming to Phoenix there’s a good chance they’ll take gold. They’re no 610, but don’t sleep on Westwood Robotics.
1726 looked very promising in Los Angeles, but were eliminated by 330 in the semifinals due to issues with their captain’s robot and the lack of scale capability. The NERDS showed off a robot then that could be very dangerous on the switch this weekend. Assuming they play at the level they did in California or better, expect them to find their way onto an alliance that reaches at least the finals.
Though they aren’t fast, 1492 has built what looks to be a reliable scale and switch capable robot. They were the first pick for their alliance in Flagstaff, so they have playoff experience under their belt. Expect Team Caution to take the step forward and play even better this weekend in Phoenix.
4565 was on Westwood’s alliance, and they were in charge of the switch and the vault. They performed the role well, and showed they have what it takes to go far. On the right alliance, Skyline Robotics can win and get to Houston.
When I wrote about 2403 in my post two weeks ago I did not realize they had backed out of Las Vegas. However, what I said in that post still applies now. Though they won the Arizona North Regional, their robot was not operating at full capacity. Issues prevented them from becoming the cube shooting monster that they were advertised to be. Four weeks have passed since then, so don’t be surprised to see them be much improved on the field this weekend.
6314 has qualified for the Championship thanks to the Chairman’s Award, and not due to their robot’s performance in Flagstaff. They ranked twentieth and were not selected for the eliminations, largely due to their serious lack of speed. However, they have a robot that, when fully working, can be a dangerous force on the field. Whether they’ve realized their potential is up in the air, but if they have expect them to be a captain or high first-round pick.
Guys on a Buffalo:
1165 won the Chairman’s Award in Phoenix last year, and with no true outreach powerhouses in attendance they have a shot at winning it again. Thanks to the effort they’ve put into their program, Team Paradise has a shot at going to the Championship two years in a row.
Calgary’s regional is traditionally a very international event, and this year is no different. Teams from Canada, the United States, and Mexico, as well as Turkey and Germany, will be assembling for a final shot at earning a spot in Houston. There are some top-tier teams coming to town, with a formidable middle-tier as well. Expect a tough competition.
As expected, 2122 had a dominant performance at home last weekend. Their strategy and nearly flawless performance won them the Idaho Regional for the second year in a row, and put them back into the conversation of the top robots in the world. Team Tators would certainly love another blue banner this weekend, but more than anything they want to make ensure they will be a competitive force in Houston.
4627 was a finalist in Victoria just three and a half weeks ago. They lost to 1241, but earned a wildcard spot and showed off their scale capable robot. They played well in British Columbia, and won’t have the easiest time against some of the top teams in the world, but they should be in the runnings for the eliminations on Saturday. Since they’ve probably improved since Week 2, expect them to be one of the top teams in Calgary.
2130 had a better than expected debut, having reached the finals of Boise just last weekend. Their ticket to the Championship is secure, but their remarkably capable robot might do more than get to the eliminations this weekend. It’s not out of the question that Alpha+ is one of the first three picks or a captain and wins their first banner since 2015 this weekend.
4334 built what looks like a world-class robot, but they hard a very hard time earning more than two ranking points per match in Canadian Pacific. It wasn’t entirely their fault, but Alberta Tech Alliance has not reached its full potential yet. They’ll need to have a reliable auto mode and use their climbing ramps in order to stay competitive with the best at this event.
6351 made the eliminations for the first time ever last weekend. Their alliance went down in the quarterfinals, but Rundle College Robotics showed flashes of promise. They aren’t fast, but they can put cubes onto the scale. Don’t expect them to be a captain or a first round pick, but rather a second round pick that will give their alliance an edge in the competition.
5787 had a hard time with their intake in Victoria, but their climber worked pretty well. Unfortunately for Nexus, climbing doesn’t win the game this year. They’ve had a few weeks to fix up their cube handler, and assuming they’ve done that they’ll be on an alliance on Saturday.
Guys on a Buffalo:
No mountain team attending the regional won either EI or Chairman’s last year. Whoever does it will likely win it for the first time. Expect a surprise!
With much of the FRC turning to the district model, the Canadian Rockies regional is one of the few regionals left that 359 can get to outside of Hawaii. Unfortunately for the mountain teams attending, the Hawaiian Kids tend to be very good on the mainland. They have not lost a regional outside of Hawaii since they were finalists in Las Vegas in 2011. They’ve won two regionals this year, and they’re one of the top teams in the event. They have an excellent chance at winning a third blue banner.
3250 showed rapid improvement from Arizona North to Sacramento. In just two weeks, they went from being unselected for eliminations to being a menace on the scale. This is their last chance to qualify for the Championship, so expect Kennedy Robotics to be firing on all cylinders for this one last event. (On a separate note, they have my favorite intake this season. Kudos to whoever designed it.)
This post concludes Mountain Man’s analysis and predictions for the 2018 season. Thank you to all of my readers and supporters, and congratulations on the success of all mountain teams this year! Good luck to all mountain teams that qualified for the Championship, I know you’ll do well.
See you next season!