Excitement mounts for the 2024 robotics season

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The Cybergnomes FRC Robotics Team 2013 mentors and veterans had been telling the rookies and their parents that they had to experience competition to understand all the hype. They said the Robotics season starts with a lot of work and it won’t make sense until you get to a competition. The rookies had been to meetings with sponsors to showcase last year’s robot but hadn’t seen or operated the robot in competition. On Sunday, Nov. 8 they got their chance.

With last year’s robot “Hoover” loaded in the trailer, along with tools and spare parts, the team headed for Hamilton to the Overtime competition. This off-season event is the work of two teams in the Hamilton area and hosts 56 teams over two days, running two mini-competitions each day at St. Mary’s Catholic High School.

Upon arrival, the Cybergnomes rolled their toolbox, batteries, and Hoover into the pit and set to work tightening bolts, testing the driver station and the communication with the robot.

In the competition field, teams were already settling into the stands to watch the action and cheer on their robots.

The game involves six robots, three per alliance. They play three-minute matches where the three-robot alliance scores points for transporting and placing pylons and inflatable cones on a grid, points increasing if they get three game pieces in a row. Extra points are earned if they balance a scale-like mechanism with 1-3 robots on it at the end of the match. They can be penalized for blocking their opponents’ robots too long or for entering field areas belonging to their opponents. Each match showcased all the robots’ strengths and weaknesses in preparation for elimination rounds.

The competition began and after each match, the team spent time fixing and replacing parts including two gearboxes

and a wheel. The rookies were shown different aspects of the robots and the competition, and they took over positions on the team left vacant by last year’s graduates. Before the day was done, an alum stopped by and chatted with our rookie programmer and assisted the team with strategy. Parents in attendance got wrapped up in the thrill of a robotics competition.

By the end of the qualification matches, the team was sitting in ninth place out of 27 teams. As the top teams started picking their alliances for the elimination round, the Cybergnomes grouped with Team 9999 CR-IT NileTech (Team 9525) a rookie team from North York and the fourth-place alliance caption, Team 4152 – Hoya Robotics from Huntsville.

Anticipation heightened as the alliance won their first match, but then lost in their second match.

Their bid for the top spot was not over, however. They moved to the lower bracket and played two matches, winning both handily. But the big excitement of the day came when the Cybergnomes’ fourth place alliance went up against Alliance 2 to move to the finals. The match started off with very tight scores. At the end of the three minutes, the initial score was tied at 111 and after penalties and last-minute points were added, it was indeed a tie at 133 and they had to play another match. The field was reset, and the musical interlude played, the human player loosened up dancing to the likes of Foreigner and Queen.

The replayed match did not see victory for the Cybergnomes’ alliance, but the team went home happy and satisfied with the results of the day. New team members and parents came back truly hooked.

– Submitted by The Cybergnomes FRC Robotics Team 2013. Authored by Kaija and mentor Deborah Bronee.

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