(September 16th) GirlPOWER
On September 16, 2017, at Mount Saint Joseph Academy in Flourtown, PA, Team 449 captained the winning alliance at the 8th annual GirlPOWER offseason competition!
GirlPOWER is an event organized by Team 433, The Firebirds, as a way to encourage the participation of girls in FIRST competitions. The Blair Robot Project assembled an all-girls team to take on the challenge. Everyone put in a great effort, and everything came together to give Team 449 its first 1st-place trophy, at any event, in 13 years!
The event was relatively small, with only 15 teams competing. That being said, most of these teams competed at Worlds this year, and many won their regional and district events. Several also made it to semis and finals at the Worlds subdivisions. So the competition was fierce.
We played in 6 qualifications matches, tying #6 and losing #14, but winning the rest. This meant that we were in 1st place almost the entire time, but unfortunately (or maybe fortunately – read on) dropped down to 4th place at the very end.
We finished qualifications in 4th place due to the last minute loss, and went into alliance selections feeling less optimistic than before.
However, our exceptional scouting system came into play; it told us that our first pick should be Team 193, who was really strong but ranked 14th due to unfortunate losses. Since none of the top teams had scouting like ours, they never thought to pick 193 and we actually got our first pick.
After that, it was lucky that we were in 4th place, since we got to choose Team 2607, another strong player, right off the bat. In fact, both of our alliance partners (193 and 2607) made it to semis at the Tesla division. With our newfound partners, we took on the next rounds.
Eliminations were played in the round robin format, so we played every other alliance. We lost our first match to the 2nd alliance, who was undoubtedly our biggest competition there. It was headed by Team 2590, who made it to semis at Archimedes (which was a very competitive field this year). They had also won IRI, one of the most prestigious offseason competitions, in a stunning upset against Team 2767 (STL Champs and 2017 Winners) and Team 118 (2015 Winners and one of the best teams in the world). So clearly these guys were a force to be reckoned with.
We won our three other eliminations matches, pushing us to the finals against the 2nd alliance. Remember, we had already lost to them once, so these were very tense matches. We barely won our first match by 5 points. In the second match, it looked like we were going to lose for most of the match. But, at the very last moment, our robot and 2607 managed to climb, hitting the touch pads with literally 1 second to go, and earned us the win!
It was a truly incredible moment for Team 449. We all ran screaming into the pits, hugging and high-fiving at our first win of the season (and in 13 years, for that matter).