Tahoma Robotics Club, Bear Metal, won big at the FIRST robotics competition in Philomath, Oregon, March 25th and 26th. Now the team advances to the district competition two weeks from now in Portland, Oregon. In the meantime, the team will compete at another event in Auburn on April 1st and 2nd.
This year’s game, “Stronghold”, has a medieval theme. Robots attack their opponent’s castle, throwing boulders, traversing rough terrain, crossing drawbridges, and lifting gates. Teams are assigned to alliances of three, and each match pits two alliances against each other, with a total of six robots on the field.
In the qualification rounds, Bear Metal won its first match. Problems arose, though, in the following matches, and we had to solve mechanical and software problems in the brief intervals between matches. Overcoming these hurdles, we rose to 3rd place by the end of the qualification rounds.
Elimination rounds followed. As one of the top teams, Bear Metal chose StormBots of Vancouver and rookie team Apex Robotics of Seattle as our alliance members for the remaining matches. Our alliance advanced through the quarterfinals, and we scraped by in the semifinals.
In the final rounds, we faced the 1st-seeded alliance, which included IRS of Issaquah, SkunkWorks of Seattle, and Rebel Alliance of Portland, Oregon. We won the first match, but the second match was painfully close and ended in a win for the other alliance.
In the final match, as robots charged around the field, throwing boulders into opponent’s towers, the opposing alliance desperately defended their castle against a concerted onslaught from our side. We failed in our attempt to climb their tower, and the closing buzzer announced a tied score. But uncounted points for our side tilted the balance, and we took the win.
The excitement was doused the next day when we learned that our trailer, with our robot “Xcalibear” and all our equipment, had been stolen early in the morning. Also in the trailer was equipment belonging to Lion Robotics of Auburn Mountainview High School. Though the trailer has been recovered, we face the challenge of preparing our alternate robot, “Sir Bearington”, for upcoming competitions.