Thank you to 217 and 67, Michigan State Champs!

On behalf of the Huskie Brigade I would like to express our thanks to the ThunderChickens and HOT for bringing us into your awesome alliance for the MSC. While it was painful to be a late pick in the draft, it was not painful at all to be allied with such great teams. We struggled with some technical issues in a few of our Q-matches, things we should have been better at. Thanks for still believing in us and our bot in such a deep field of good robots.

Paul and Adam, you guys are so good at running an alliance, and your ability to roll out creative strategy - and then execute it with your GREAT drivers and machines - was fun to experience. The brain trust behind us: Chris Hibner, Tom Nader and the HOT strategists and scouts, Mike Copioli, and those guys from so far away (a Texan and a Canadian) made up an incredible team.

Two things that really stick in my mind:

A moment of calm in a sea of chaos, brought to us by Mr. Enthusiasm himself, that’s right, calm from Paul: He explained to us why/how we won the last match, and then asked us to stop, sit, be still for a few seconds. We did. It was good.

Early on, Paul reminded us (okay, TOLD us) that we could do more, play our role, play tougher. We did. This guy brought more out of us than I thought possible. Thank you for the boost.

Thanks to 217 and 67 for the ride!!



One more amazing stat about this alliance. As far as I know, this is the first winning alliance in the history of FIRST with three teams all having a Woody Flowers Championship winner on their teams!!!

This is also the first alliance in an official FIRST event I have ever heard of that has 3 teams that were all previous championship champions. What an amazing group of teams I am really impressed by how effective you guys worked together and how strong you were.

I just want to echo what Ken said. Thanks a lot for believing in us and picking us.

We had a strange technical difficulty that stumped us for a couple of matches since what was happening was theoretically impossible with our design. As it turns out, a speed controller lost power which explained our issue. (DOH!) Anyway, thanks for trusting that we had it fixed.

It was also an extreme pleasure (and honor) to work with these great, highly organized teams. There is a reason that teams are good year after year, and it all boils down to good people with great organizations. Teams 67 and 217 are primary examples of this. I’m glad that we could be along for the ride.

It was also great that the “far away” guys could show up and join in the fun.

Overall, it was a great competition with the best set of teams that I’ve ever seen. Good luck to everyone in Atlanta.

I just wanted to take a second to congratulate all three of the winning teams. You are all such integral parts of the success of FIRST in Michigan and it was great to see success on the field as well.

Let me tell you a little story.

It was Friday night of the Michigan State Championship. Team 217 was gathered in a small room above Casa Di Copioli. Joining them were friends from the North and from the South. The battles fought earlier that day were brutal and fierce and it was now time to compile “The List”. But who would be at the top? Would we even be in a position to need “The List”? With the depth of teams at this event, the only certainty was that nothing was certain. Almost nothing that is.

The pizza arrived and so did our friends from the North. We debated about statistics and performance. Defense vs. offense and shooter vs. dumper. Who would be available and who would be picked. Who we work well with and who would work well with us. The night was long and the discussions were heated.

Soon the Pizza was gone and the floor was covered with scouting sheets. It was a long night and we all had a big day ahead of us. But who would be our second pick? While this sounded like a difficult choice it really was quite simple. After all of the debate and all of the banter the one certainty that all agreed was that Team 65, The Huskies, would complete our alliance. That is if we were lucky enough to have them available. Eventually the room cleared out and the traditional post strategy Rock Band performance by Giovanni and Donovan ensued. Followed by a night of nervous anticipation.

The day had come we had all been waiting for. Saturday of the Michigan State Championship. The atmosphere was thick with energy, and spirit and all were focused on the prize. If I had not been told of the Final Four being in Detroit I would have never known. With an undefeated record on Friday and low ranking points a lot was at stake. Two wins were needed to secure our seat as the number one seed. Two wins were what we got. I was not an easy task.

With the elimination rounds behind us, the alliance selection soon began. I must say it was an unusual feeling being the number one alliance. A feeling that many of the teams present knew all to well. But this was an unfamiliar taste to team 217 having only been the number one seed once before in its 10 year history. With the alliance captains in position the selections began. The obvious first choice for any number one seeded team at this event was team 67. With a robot as solid as the team that built it, and drive team and coach as equally talented, it would be foolish for any team to pass up such an opportunity. As the alliance selection continued, our team waited in suspense wondering if our dream alliance would be realized. First 2 then 3 then 4 all the way through to 8 and still the huskies evaded selection. Now it was time for the dreaded serpentine every number one seeds biggest fear. With number 8 starting it off with team 68 finalizing their alliance. Next was 7 then 6…still no huskies…5,4,3…and then finally 2 we all waited with bated breath for 1918’s final selection. Would they pick our husky allies? When they picked team 904, I as well as everyone on the strategy and scouting team knew what was to come.

Team 65 it was a pleasure and honor sharing the spirit of competition with such a legacy team. How such a high caliber team was overlooked is beyond me. I know I speak for all of team 217 when I say that we should be thanking you.

Ken, you have a great group of students that I am sure you are proud of. Students you are fortunate enough to have one of the most gracious members of FIRST as your mentor. Ken Patton or as we like to call him, Captain America is one of the greatest people I have ever met. His worst is better than most peoples best and he make the world a better place because of it. If the Woody Flowers award could be given twice you would have my vote.

Once again thank you,


I’ll third the vote. Make it so.

I’ll add a fourth for good measure.

I don’t suppose I could add a fifth onto this…getting kind of long. I haven’t worked with Ken, all but once. But, his attitude on and off the field was awesome. I knew from the moment we met with him that this was a guy I wanted to know. I hope we meet up in Atlanta Ken! :slight_smile:

Ken Patton is Captian America!

I have a long list of thanks, but I must first clear up one thing: team 65 was not along for the ride. This was a squadron of three and all three had to deliver to make it happen. If not for the execution of the Huskies, we would not have brought home gold. Now, on to the list …

I will start with the people that made this incredible collection of teams possible:

FIRST in Michigan and FIRST HQ - Thank you for taking a chance and pushing us out of our comfort zone. My personal opinion is that the experiment was a success and some parts can be implemented immediately in 2010 for all of FIRST. This State Championship was the most competitive event our team has attending in its 11 years of existence.

Next, our partners:

**Team 67 **- What can I say? From top to bottom your organization is top drawer. Your robot execution is flawless and your scouting and strategy methods are mind blowing. I know I will push our team to your level of scouting excellence next year. I know our scoring styles are much different, but they compliment each other so perfectly it is hard to imagine a better alignment of game play attributes. Your drive team students are awesome. They are efficient and so calm under pressure. I am very impressed.
**Adam Feeman **- it was a pleasure working with you three times this year and it is quite a relief knowing you are behind the glass on our side of the field.
**Tom Nader **- Your speed at which you make scouting data appear is amazing. I know our autonomous modes would not have been effective without the excellent data you brought to the table.

**Team 65 **- Along for the ride? No way! Our prayers were answered when you guys were still available. To be able to score as much as your robot could and be available to us … I still can’t believe it.
**Ken Patton ** = Captain America. No other words can even come close to describing you. Your only flaw is you are way too humble. To be able to be behind the glass with you is simply an honor. Right in the middle of the elimination rounds you turn to me and say, “I am in over my head …” and promptly have the best set of matches team 65 had all year. Over your head … right. Everyone should get the pleasure of working with you. Mike said it best, “Ken Patton on his worst day is better than most of us on our best day.”

Chris Hibner - Your contributions to our overall strategy will probably be overlooked, but not by me. I have always been impressed with your overall take on FIRST and your view on strategy and tactics. I am glad we were finally able to work together.

Our supporting cast of characters:

JVN - I never thought you would be able to come to our little event in Michigan and when you agreed, I was excited. Never did I think you would integrate yourself into our team the way you did. I thank you for the impression you left our students and your willingness to be a “ThunderChicken” for the weekend. Looking back and seeing you behind us after every match was like lifting a huge weight off of my shoulders. Thank-you for being part of this very special event. You are one of my closest friends and I am glad we got to share this experience.

Karthik Kanagasabapathy - The exact same goes for you. When you said you would not be able to make it I was disappointed, to say the least. However, your text on Friday morning after watching the webcast was a pleasant suprise. Having you and Tyler arrive right in the middle of our strategy session was pretty awesome. Thank you for injecting yourself into our scouting on Saturday morning. I know our lead scout, Kate, appreciated it and so did I.

Tyler Holtzman - I was glad you were able to come to Michigan with Karthik. Thanks for your help during the strategy session on Friday night. Even though we didn’t get a chance to talk much, I am glad you came out to our part of the FIRST world. Hopefully, 217 and 2056 will actually cross paths at a regional in the years to come. Thanks for the shirts. I am using them as motivators for our team.

I will comment on my team privately as I have a lot to say, but to some it up: I am proud of each and every one of you for your continued pursuit of excellence in everything that you do.

Stop it already. There is no doubt that if the hyperbole were replaced with data you would be singing a different tune.

You guys are faster, stronger, more practiced, more organized, more prepared, less grouchy, funnier (in the case of Paul), cooler (in the case of Adam, ok, and Paul too), have faster brains, have better eyesight, and better hearing. I does not matter that my pants are better looking, I’m in over my head. :slight_smile:

I have one major advantage in addition to the camo. After every match, I get to walk over to Mr. Hibner and say “what’s next?” Gentlemen, HE is a REAL captain. :slight_smile:


Thanks so much to 217 and 67 for your support and belief in us. You really brought out the best in us. To say the talent and experience behind this alliance was overwheleming is an understatement.:eek:
Ken Patton, Chris Hibner, Tom Nader and the HOT strategists and scouts, Mike and Paul Copioli, JVN, Karthik Kanagasabapathy, and many more. I sat back in awe and listened to countless years of experience deciding our fate. With the strategy set up all the drivers and human players performed magnifectly. It wasn’t easy either. This was the toughest competition I’ve seen in my 10 years. Great job to everyone involved. See you in ATL!:smiley:

That’s WAS a real captain. I’m back to first officer now.

Well, if it’s hyperbole you’re talking about, I’m more royalty than a captain - like a royal pain in the butt.

team 65 was not along for the ride. This was a squadron of three and all three had to deliver to make it happen. If not for the execution of the Huskies, we would not have brought home gold.
That sounds like what we were saying in 2003 :slight_smile: Good job you guys, see you in Atlanta.

OK, now you are just being an overachiever.

Out of all of my years in FIRST, this competition was probably the best competition I have ever been to. There was incredible competition from all over the state, with some of the toughest teams in FIRST. My eternal thanks goes to teams 67 and 217 for choosing us, and making an incredible alliance. I had so much fun cheering with you guys behind our alliance stations, and watching our alliance play some incredible matches. I wish the best for you all in Atlanta. :slight_smile:

I have been trying to write this post for the last day and a half. Everytime I think I have it ready, someone writes something better.

This entire season so far has been incredible. As an engineering mentor/scout/strategist for 67 the last 4 years, I would walk around the pits observing robots and watch matches from the upper deck looking for advatages and tips that I could give to our drive team and coach.

I would be envious of some of our other mentors that knew people on other teams and would interact with them, while I stood there listening and observing.

Now that I have been given this great opportunity to coach for the Heroes of Tomorrow, I am getting an entirely new experience at each and every competition we attend. The opportunity to meet and work with such “greats” in the FIRST community, like Ken Patton and Paul Copioli, has been a great honor to me.

The way that these guys inspire and lead not only their students, but all the students and mentors from other teams is amazing.

Thunder Chickens - 217: Your robot is amazing! The driver skill and patience displayed each and every match to wait for the perfect time to unload 20+ balls into an opponents trailer is awesome. You guys are the #1 example for how to operate a turreted shooter this season. I know our students have loved the opportunity to cheer and root with you thoughout this season. Thanks for the pit decorations. :smiley:

Huskie Brigade - 65: Your robot has been on my radar since I watched the Kettering webcast in week #1. As soon as I saw it in the pits Thursday morning, I could see the potential it had to be the perfect third robot. The only question was, how far down in the seeding order would we need to be for your team to be available for our alliance. Never did I think that you would be available to the #1 alliance with the 24th pick. That combination of scoring potential and defense should have been selected way earlier.

Paul Copioli: For the third time this season I have been luck enough to coach behind the glass with you. Your ability to step up and be THE LEADER among all the other amazing people we had helping us, is awe inspiring. If we are fortunate enough to get into the same division, I will be hoping we can do it again. If not, I know 217 will be on Einstien…hopefully we will execute well enough to compete against you.

Ken Patton: You are definitely too humble. Your comment to me that we were making you feel too old to compete with us younger coaches is completely invalid. Your attention to detail and execution was exactly what we needed.

Karthik, John, and Tyler: We apprieciate all the compliments about our robot and the additional strategy assistance that you all provided. I can’t wait to get to Atlanta to see all of your great robot designs.

That’s right he’s a Texan, and we’re keepin’ him! :smiley:

I’m truly honored to have the opportunity during the competition season to be able to work so closely with such a respected leader within the FIRST community. The FIRST cliche of a gracious professional really doesn’t apply to John, as he goes much farther beyond that, whether that’s dealing with the kids on 148 or with other teams. Paul really hit the nail right on the head.

It looks like y’all really had quite a who’s who of FIRST coaching and strategy entering into the eliminations at MSC. Along with the incredible machines and amazing teams behind them, it made for quite an epic alliance. Congratulations 217, 67, and 65 on the win. See you in Atlanta!

You know this story sounds so much like 2003, I think it Deja Vue.