NEforecast: Western New England District Event, March 22 - March 24, 2019
The Blue Alliance: https://www.thebluealliance.com/event/2019mawne
Who is your favorite of this week’s top teams?
Welcome back to Week 4 of the New England District, we’re hitting the halfway point of Destination: Deep Space and many of the teams and robots we’re seeing have shaken off their first competition rust. This year’s game has been a bit static, albeit a bit dull, with most teams strategies following a pretty basic formula. That being said we believe the potential for this game’s ability to evolve as the robots get better and the fields get deeper is as limitless as the farthest depths of space.
This week we’ll be seeing 3 district events in New England (can you believe it, 3 district events!!! Better watch out Michigan we’re catching up!). One of those 3 is the Western New England District Event, located in Springfield, MA. You could mistake this for a CT event after looking at the team list, however, as 24 out of the 30 teams competing reside in Connecticut. While we won’t say this is a weak event, the upper tier of teams isn’t as strong as some other competitions we’ll see this season and even this week. We may be counting our chickens before they hatch, but we think this event will be heavily decided between the dynamic of 176, 195, and 230. It’s incredibly likely that 2 out of these 3 teams will partner up, and it could end up being an uphill battle for the one that’s left out. Luckily they’re not the only ones competing, and there’s always upsets and rising stars to be on the lookout for. Without further ado, let’s take a look at who you should be keeping an eye on in Week 4 at Western NE!
195, CyberKnights: In what is oddly considered their typical fashion, 195 had a pretty rough start to their first event (and we do mean rough), only to overcome those issues and go on to win. With that competition behind them they’re making their New England debut by choosing to prioritize improvement on their hatch game, driver practice, and programming fine-tuning, with an updated mechanism or two to boot. The CyberKnights will work hard to get after the rocket RP in most of their matches, as their climber is almost a guaranteed level 3 at the end of every match, meaning they could separate themselves as a 4RP specialist in the event. Not to mention, their unique turret design allows them to deal with defense more easily than others. Though not where they want to be just yet, we expect the CyberKnights to find themselves being the fastest cycler in Springfield, partnering with either 230 or 176 and making a strong elims run.
230, Gaelhawks: We last saw the Gaelhawks compete in week 2 at the Waterbury event, besting 176 in a very close set of finals matches and taking home the blue banner. Though they may not improve between each competition as much as other teams around them, it could be argued that they have the most consistent robot in Connecticut currently. Whether it’s cargo, hatches, or climbing, Team 230 can do it all, and very efficiently too. As defensive strategies evolve and become more effective we’ll see whether having mecanums inhibits their scoring ability or simply makes them more elusive and harder to defend, as it does for teams like 118. We expect this Shelton-based team to rank somewhere in the Top 4, alliancing with a strong cycler and possibly winning their 2nd New England district event in a row.
176, Aces High: Coming off an impressive 14-4-0 performance at the Waterbury District Event, Team 176 is looking for redemption after they were cut short of an event win in the finals. Even though they didn’t take home the win in Waterbury, they managed to rank 1st with 5 more RP’s than the 2nd seeded team. Ranking could prove pivotal in Western New England as the field of top teams is arguably smaller than it was in Week 2. Over the past 2 weeks Aces High has been hard at work on driver practice, updated vision alignment, and trying to find a way to get their partner climb mechanism working, which may be difficult as the type of robots they can climb with is limited. Expect 176 to get 3RP regularly, while getting a few 4RP matches along the way, ending up somewhere in the Top 5 seeds.
2370, IBOTS: Heading south to Springfield for their first district event (why don’t they just go to a Vermont event? ) Team 2370 is hoping to make quite the showing. Debuting a beautiful white & black machine the IBots can handle all aspects of the game, with a wristed intake for hatches & cargo, as well as a secondary-elevator level 3 climb. If they can work through the issues of their first competition this team, who is ever so quietly creeping their way up the New England powerhouse ladder, could find their way to being one of the top 5 robots in Western New England.
228, GUS: Though having a bit of a rough time in qualifications at the Waterbury district event, GUS still made a strong showing. Ranking 4th in overall cargo points they found themselves falling into the “Cargo bot” archetype. With improvements to their mechanisms and some driver fine-tuning they will come out strong and be seen as a more well-rounded robot, as well as more consistent. If they don’t find a way to get to level 3 however, their elims fate may well rest on the luck of the draw of the Top 8 ranked teams yet again.
7407, Wired Boars: Correct us if we’re wrong, but this is only the 2nd time in this prediction account’s history that we’ve ever featured a rookie team on the top team/honorable mention list (with the first time being 6328). Taking the mantra of the elegance of simplicity and making it their own this Choate Rosemary Hall based team has crafted a devastatingly effective robot that can handle all facets of the game with ease. Though they can only do low objectives these new kids on the block may be one of the fastest cyclers here, and despite being a rookie team they already have a pretty strong grasp of how FRC is supposed to be played.
181, Birds of Prey: Featuring a very Jack-of-all trades type robot (and a cheer that’s more likely to get stuck in your head than any other team in FIRST) 181 doesn’t necessarily specialize in any one area. Leave them to their own devices and they’ll make you pay, though. Whether it’s cargo, hatches, or climbing to level 3 this team is proficient at every area of the game. Making a strong elims run with 558 in Waterbury was impressive enough, but if they’ve found a way to increase their cycle times we may even see them make their way into the top 3 alliances.