The District Championship
45 of the best FRC teams in Georgia descended on to the Lakepoint Champions Center for the PCH District Championship. With a new venue, more space, and even a full practice field, courtesy of 4188, PCH teams were more than ready to give Destination Deep Space (DDS) all they had.
This event not only featured great depth, but, thanks to DDS, great strategic variety. However, while cargo specialists, such as 3635 and 7514, and hatch specialists, such as 4026 and 7451, put up a good fight, all-around offensive juggernauts ultimately won the day.
Unsurprisingly, the #1 seed (4910-2974-2415) and the #2 seed (1102-1746-7472) found their way into the finals. While we had hoped to see a couple of amazing matches, technical issues with the #2 seed definitely left the gameplay wanting. The end result was the #1 seed easily won out and 4910, 2974, and 2415 each took home their second DCMP wins.
Back in the day, Georgia would send a handful of teams to worlds and hope that a couple of them would get into the playoffs. However, over the past few seasons the narrative at worlds for PCH teams has definitely changed. We no longer wonder whether PCH teams will get into eliminations, but rather, how far they will go.
With that being said, PCH teams appear to be in relatively good standing compared to the rest of the field at Houston. While our scores may not tower as high, our top-tier teams have put up numbers that rival the powerhouses of Texas and California. However, PCH teams still suffer from a lack of name recognition, and while that may allow them to work unhindered during qualifications, it also means that they have to work a little harder to get noticed for the playoffs.
Ultimately, the recipe for worlds is actually relatively simple. Be efficient. Be consistent. That’s easier said than done, but placing a few pieces of cargo and doing a level 3 climb won’t make much of a dent in Houston. PCH teams looking to make a run at Einstein need to squeeze every second out of their cycles and show other teams that they have what it takes to be a fast, consistent alliance partner.
Qualified: 1746, 4188
1746 is going into Houston in a strong competitive standing. With a CV-driven robot that’s capable of soloing an entire rocket, and more, in a match, Otto definitely has the pieces to pack a punch at worlds. If they can get their rumored level 3 climb off the ground, Otto may just add the final piece that pushes them into alliance captain consideration. However, with a power-packed division, Otto’s long-term success relies on them hitting hard during qualifications and convincing another powerhouse team to lift-off with them.
4188 has had a slower-than-expected season, but after dialing in a level 3 climb at DCMP, displaying the ability jump off of level 2 and score just about anywhere during sandstorm, and playing some solid defense in playoffs, they have the makings of a decent 2nd or 3rd round pick. Considering that they’re back in the same division as their 2017 Einstein Alliance partners, CSP may just be the PCH dark horse that ends up making another deep run at Houston.
Qualified: 1102, 1414, 2974, 3998, 4026, 4468
Waitlist: 5900, 6177
This has been a season of trials and tribulations for
1102, but through it all they’ve emerged as a top 5 team coming out the PCH district. Maiken Magic probably has one of the highest competitive ceilings in PCH and we don’t expect them to have trouble getting into playoffs in Galileo. However, if they can really deliver on the consistency front, they may just have a Championship to remember.
1414 started off the season strong with another beautifully engineered robot that had a lot of tools in its belt, including a strong cargo game and a consistent level 3 climb. However, by the time DCMP rolled around, IHOT was being outpaced by a growing top tier and the rest of the district was nipping at their heels. Currently, 1414 has the makings of a 2nd or 3rd round pick, but if IHOT can lay on the throttle and increase their efficiency, they may just find themselves leading an alliance into the playoffs.
2974 has consistently been one of the best robots this season, and we don’t just mean in the PCH district. With a rumored level 3 in the works, Walton is taking their best robot ever and really looking to make a name for themselves on the international stage. Walton definitely has a spot in the playoffs, and if their drivers can stay frosty, Walton is a strong contender for an appearance on Einstein.
4026 can be a bit of an enigma. What they lack in a cargo game, they more than make up for hatch placement, defense, and a compact level 3 climb. With that being said, we believe Global Dynamics will best thrive in a supporting role to two other offensive juggernauts. We look for 4026 to stage a strong showing and if they go as a solid 2nd or 3rd round robot to a high seeded alliance, we may just even see them on Einstein.
6177 is coming off the waitlist into the Galileo division, however, in their last appearance in Albany, they were steadily improving and almost led the 7th seed to upset the 1st seed in the finals. However, ARDs performance really depends on how they’ve been spending their off time. If they’ve been steadily improving, 6177 could serve as a solid 2nd or 3rd round pick.
Qualified: 832, 1311, 4910, 6919, 7451
Waitlist: 3635, 7427
4910 is the best all-around robot coming out of the PCH District. They can come off level 2 in the sandstorm, they can solo a rocket, and they have a super consistent level 3 climb. All this stacks up to a potential top 8 run in Hopper. However, we still feel like 4910 is leaving a little something on the field, as their performance seems to struggle under pressure and defense. But this season, 4910 has shown that they have what it takes to make steady improvements and rise to the level of play. If ECR can find their next competitive gear, they may just bust out of Hopper and onto their second appearance on Einstein.
3635 took the district by storm at Columbus and showed that they were here to play. While they weren’t able to push past the quarterfinals in PCH DCMP, the Flying Legion are the epitome of efficiency and consistency. As such, we look for 3635 to play a strong role as a 2nd round pick on a lower-seeded alliance or a solid backup bot that rain cargo if brought in off the bench.
7427 has a pretty impressively engineered machine, and we don’t just mean for a rookie team. While they’re not anything special at the hatch and cargo game, they have a swerve drive and vacuum climber that allows them to fill a rather specific niche that’s going to be very attractive to higher-seeded alliances. If Protocol-X can show consistency on their vacuum climb and dominate the field with their swerve, they may find themselves supporting a powerhouse alliance all the way to Einstein.
Qualified: 5109, 7514
5109 is one of the more underrated robots in our district. They have a low-slung robot that actually reminds us a bit of 2910 without the swerve. That being said, with a solid cargo and hatch game and a consistent level 3 climber, we expect Gladiator Robotics will make a solid alliance partner in Newton.
7514 burst onto the scene with an extremely impressive and the best PCH rookie performance of the 2019 FRC season. As such, this cargo focused robot brings a lot of speed to the table, as well as little bonuses such as coming off level 2 for sandstorm and an unassuming level 2 climb. EVE robotics may not be an offensive juggernaut, but they can more than hold their own as a solid 2nd or 3rd round pick.
Qualified: 1771, 2415, 6829
Waitlist: 4941, 5332
1771 has an extremely strong machine going into Houston. With a solid cargo game and an acceptable hatch game, NGR stands as a contender in Roebling, but their greatest strength may just be their level 3 climb. Not only is it fast, but given their weight distribution, it can also be done with a pretty significant overhang. Given that 1771 has also shown a great aptitude to play shutdown defense, NGR has a place on nearly any worlds alliance.
4941 took a big step forward this season by building a more sophisticated machine than they have in previous years. While they didn’t achieve the heights of their previous seasons, 4941 still has a very solid cargo and hatch game that has the propensity to fly under the radar. If they play their game and show off a consistent machine in Houston, we have no trouble imaging Robobibb making an appearance in playoffs.
6829 broke out this season with a sophisticated robot that earned them two district qualifier championships. While their cargo and hatch games aren’t anything to write home about, like some other PCH teams, they do fill a rather specific niche with their vacuum climb. If Ignite can show consistency and agility, we look for them to make a solid 2rd or 3rd round pick to a higher-seeded alliance.
1683 has shown that they’re not above making improvements when necessary, even going as far as to completely redesign their robot throughout the season. The TechnoTitan’s appearance at DCMP definitely left something to be desired, but they’ve no doubt spent the time between DCMP and Houston practicing and tuning their machine. If 1683 has found their stride, we look for them to have a solid showing at Houston.