GCPS High School FIRST Robotics Competition (FRC) Team 1629, the Garrett Coalition (GaCo) won the Greater Pittsburgh Regional tournament held during March 5, 6, and 7th at California University of PA (CalU). Fifty-four teams competed from Ohio, Maryland, Virginia, West Virginia and Pennsylvania. See links for videos below.
After all 54 teams competed in 9 qualification matches, GaCo, ended up as the 9th highest ranked team going into elimination matches. All matches are 2 minutes 30 seconds long beginning with a 15 second “autonomous” mode where robots run pre-programmed code to score points. For the remaining two minutes, robots are teleoperated by team members from outside the playing field. All matches are played where three robots join into alliance against another alliance consisting of three robots. For any one match, all three robots on a given alliance share the same alliance score. During qualification matches alliances are randomly assigned, however, the more competitive robots tend to rank higher. After all qualification matches are played, the top eight teams invite two teams in which to form an alliance to compete in “elimination” or “playoff” matches.
During the alliance selection process, GaCo moved up to the 6th ranked alliance captain and invited the 16th (Team 337) and 33rd (Team 144) ranked teams from Logan, WV, and Cincinnati, OH respectively. GaCo’s alliance went into the elimination matches as what most would have considered as underdogs. GaCo’s alliance survived quarterfinals as well as semifinals. They won their first final match, but having to have two wins to win the finals, lost their second match and won their third and final match as regional winners.
The team’s victory earned them a spot to compete at the FRC World Championships in St. Louis in late April. However, they will compete at another regional event, the Chesapeake Regional, in College Park (Univ. of MD) to defend their title - having won the Chesapeake regional last year. In addition to winning the Greater Pittsburgh Regional, GaCo also received the tournament’s “Entrepreneurship Award” sponsored by Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers which celebrates the entrepreneurial spirit by recognizing a team that has developed the framework for a comprehensive business plan to scope, manage, and achieve team objectives.
Every year FRC teams have six weeks to build robots from scratch to play a different game each year. This year’s game is RECYCLE RUSH. Robots score points by stacking totes on scoring platforms, capping those stacks with recycling containers, and properly disposing of pool noodles, representing litter. In keeping with the recycling theme of the game, all game pieces used are reusable or recyclable by teams in their home locations or by FIRST® at the end of the season. For more information about FIRST and Team 1629, GaCo, including links to some of the matches at the Pittsburgh Regional - please visit the team’s website at http://garrettcountyschools.org/frc1629.
for a video showing GaCo’s last finals match as viewed from the stands. GaCo (1629) is on the Red Alliance.
for a HD video showing GaCo’s last match as viewed from the referees - please note that this video only features GaCo’s alliance and does not show the full field.