PCH District: 2023 Macon Predictions

Hartsville Review

Improvement was the name of the game at SC’s final district event for Charged Up. We finally saw a few 4-RP matches and average winning scores pushing closer to 100+. Teams were now more focused on playing the game well and had a better understanding of their robot’s strengths.

4451 Robotz Garage came out ready to score on the high node and had more automation ready to help speed up their scoring and also debuted a 2-cube clear lane auton that featured a new cube kicker that was inspired by M’Aiken Magic. 1102 had some struggles with consistency of their new hybrid link auton throughout the early qualifying phase event and largely played different strategies to increase their chances at links, and it eventually paid off later on as 4 of the 5 matches at the event that had 4 RP were while they were on the field. 343 Metal in Motion was close in terms of total game piece output as well as they were scoring at least 8 teleop cycles a match. 342 The Burning Magnetos looked much improved in many matches as well playing a good quick cycle game to the double substation, and 281 The Greenvillans were one of the fastest teams in the field when left alone scoring 2 or more links many times.

At the end of quals there was a ranking point total tie between 4451, 1102 and 281 with 4451 having the tiebreaker point lead. Robotz Garage called their Anderson partners up to play with them again with 1102 as their first pick. Alliance selection only saw a few declines with a surprise being 281 being declined when inviting 343. While it should be said 281 was the most well-driven Mecanum drive robot in the field; it was also clear from some matches that if they were targeted with defense they could be shut down.

The #1 alliance torched their way to the finals putting up some of their highest clean scores yet, and in the final match of the lower bracket we saw a face off of #2 281/3490/3976 vs #3 343/342/8137 alliances. It became clear the match would come down to endgame balances and penalties and as time winded down the 342/342/8137 alliance was victorious and headed to play in the finals.

The finals mostly played out in the #1 alliance’s favor with the defense not doing much to slow down the top seeds as they charged ahead of the blue alliance to take the wins due largely in part to a very clean triple balance strategy and higher scoring autonomous routines.

8575 The Due Westerners was the well-deserved Impact award winner and 3489 CatEgory 5 took home the Engineering Inspiration award – a reversal from the last SC event.


Carrollton Review

Carrollton looked a lot like Dalton, with 19 different teams competing at both of these events. In qualifications, we witnessed an increase of over 50% in average match score from Dalton to Carrollton, but Anderson still had an average of 3 points higher.

Going into the week, 2974 Walton Robotics was considered the heavy favorite once again, partially due to their own prowess on the field, but also largely due to the lack of depth in the top tier at Carrollton. They of course made their way to another top seed, however their average match score and average RP through qualifications both actually fell from Dalton, and by a fairly substantial amount. 6340 set themselves apart from the rest of the field for a second time, and ended up being first-picked by Walton and taking home the gold together yet again.

We also saw solid improvements from teams like 5109, 4026, and 4189, but it was clear that the vast majority of the teams had figured out more about their robots and learned to better execute their strategies on the field. That being said, there’s still plenty of room for improvement across the board, which will be necessary if these teams want to keep pace with the rest at DCMP.

Congratulations to teams 7451 and 2974 for receiving the Carrollton Impact Award and Engineering Inspiration Award, respectively.



Macon Preview

Macon is largely a repeat of the Gwinnett competition, minus some heavy hitters. 3 of the 4 top Gwinnett teams (1683, 4509, and 4188) have finished their qualifiers and are waiting for the District Championship. Macon will feature several historically strong teams that have yet to show consistency. The game is moving fast with Unicorn matches happening at Hartville and Dalton. Teams attending Macon won’t have much time to improve before DCMP, so we’ll see who’s made the most of the past 10 days this weekend.

Contenders

6919 - The Commodores come in with a track record of executing consistently and bringing home blue banners. The last time 6919 DIDN’T win a blue banner at a District Qualifier was…2019. The Commodores made the most of their 4 weeks off, building a completely new robot, seemingly inspired by other successful teams they’ve watched this year. The other teams at Macon better have their bots dialed in if they want to keep up with 6919. Another fun fact is that 6919 is the last undefeated team left in the world!

1771 - North Gwinnett Robotics struggled a bit at Gwinnett. In their last qualifying match, they scored 0 points in auto, no game pieces in teleop, and just balanced early. BUT, one thing you never do with 1771 is count them out. Teaming up with 4188 for playoffs and taking 2415 as a defense specialist, they started strong but fell to the lower bracket by the hands of the #1 alliance. But with a few fixes and adjustments, they battled their way to the finals together took down the 1 seed in a couple of close Finals matches. Just think of them as team “High Standard Deviation”. Expect them to find a way to win while they bring their robot’s full potential online.

In the hunt

1261 - In a field of uncertainty, Robo Lions are the team of stability. Their robot isn’t full of untapped potential, but they have a practical approach that leads to consistency. A solid autonomous and endgame served them well at Gwinnett. If other teams swing and miss at Macon, 1261 will keep on going and pass them as they rise to the top of the rankings.

1414 – IHOT chose an aggressive design in terms of complexity to start off the year. Rumor has it they’ve scrapped a good portion of what they had and are bringing a new machine to compete at Macon. It will be interesting to see if they can get it all dialed in and working smoothly in time.

1746 - What is it with teams that started in 2006?! OTTO looks at 1771’s “High Standard Deviation” and says “hold my loctite.” They’re another team who’s made some significant modification to their robot in search of a more executable gameplan and hopefully a deeper run into playoffs. It will certainly help that they’re a bit less top-heavy now… 1746 has a history of starting off slow and somehow making things work (or rebuilding), and they’re off to the races. 1746 is the master of being there in the end.

6829 - Ignite did alright at Gwinnett ranking 12th, and teaming up with IHOT on the 4th alliance. Together they worked their way into a 3rd place finish as an alliance alongside 9086, but they did have problems along the way. If Ignite can eliminate some of their issues and show more consistency on the field, it wouldn’t be a stretch to predict them as one of the top seeds at Macon, and potentially even make a finals appearance.

Impact Award Contenders:
1002, 6919

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