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Wrapping up RAPID REACT

What a season! 2022 was a year of many firsts, including our first time winning a blue banner and our first qualifying for both the FIRST New England District Championship and FIRST Championship.

After our performance at the Waterbury and Hartford district events, our ranking of 46/183 in the New England District placed us comfortably in the number of qualifying teams for New England District Championship (DCMP). The DCMP had a capacity of 80 teams competing on two fields for the first time, and they named their fields after the 20th and 22nd elements in the periodic table: Calcium and Titanium. We were assigned to compete in the Titanium division, against dozens of other amazing teams from all over New England!

District Champs was a wonderful experience at The Big E. Although we faced technical difficulties during matches, we persevered, learned new things, and even had help from Julian, one of our alums who graduated in 2020. Memorable moments include climbing to the high bar for the first time during game play and taking home the Imagery Award for the Titanium division (no wonder we ran out of pins)! We were also incredibly excited to cheer for our mentor, Sam, when she was recognized as the Volunteer of the Year for NE FIRST.

Last, but certainly not least, we were honored to accept the invitation Saturday morning to be the final pre-qualifying team from the New England District to attend the FIRST Championship in Houston. After celebrating the great news and making final fixes on our robot, Orpheus, we packed it soundly, along with as much as we could fit from our pit, in crates we didn’t see again until we got to Houston.

Time flew by before Worlds as we shared the news with family and planned logistics along with other CT FRC teams. Before we knew it, we had some students and mentors in Houston, with others scouting, running social media efforts, and supporting the team virtually from home base.

We were on a roll after getting Orpheus inspected in the first few minutes of the FRC pits opening on Wednesday and had plenty of time to explore the amazing extras provided only at Worlds, such as the Innovation Faire and conferences in the George R. Brown Convention Center. It was nothing short of incredible to meet spectacular FIRST teams from all over the world that each built a unique, high-performing robot, and had beautiful, lasting impacts on their local communities.

With 453 FRC teams in attendance, Houston hosted six divisions on the first floor of the huge venue. We were assigned to the Roebling Division, named for the civil engineer responsible for the Brooklyn Bridge. We climbed as high as rank 10 on the first day, and got many shoutouts for our amazing defensive gameplay from the game announcers, before settling to a final rank of 34/76 teams.

When the time finally came for the awards ceremony, we couldn’t have been more proud to be announced the winners of the Roebling Division Imagery Award, one of only six awarded at this highest level of competition. Overall, we achieved a score of 6-4-0 in gameplay and made the most of the practice fields as we tested vision targeting code for shooting cargo and practiced climbing when we were not chosen for the playoffs. After packing crates to ship back home, we experienced the legendary showdown at Einstein, enjoyed our last moments at Houston, and finally flew back to Hartford after an overnight bus ride to the Dallas-Fort Worth Airport.

We’re so proud of all the team members and parents that made this season a success, and we’ll be back in action soon at community events and off-season competitions such as Battlecry@WPI, June 4–5.

Thanks to:

  • Our mentors for supporting us through our best season yet

  • Team 8085 for helping us fly with them to Houston

  • Team 195 for helping us find a bus to take us to Dallas

  • Team 4481 for helping us troubleshoot drive train turning issues

  • Team 1153 for quickly offering a robot part in a time of need

  • Team 3075 for teaching us about their custom swerve module and differential swerve plans in detail

  • Many more friendly students, mentors and volunteers we met from all over the world who helped us or shared our love for FIRST!

  • GoFundMe donors!! It's not too late:

  • Our amazing sponsors:

    • Comcast (sponsored 80% of our worlds registration in addition to initial funds)

    • NE FIRST and FedEx (crates and shipment to Houston)

    • Raytheon Technologies (also threw us a pizza party at worlds)

    • The Spain Family

    • Medtronic

    • MakerspaceCT

    • 4-H

    • NASA

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