It’s a Game of Averages and TORC Tops the Charts
On Friday, March 20th and Saturday, March 21st, Team 2137 – TORC, the Oxford High School robotics team clinched the Western Michigan District Championship at Grand Valley State University! Adding two cherries to the top, they also won the Gracious Professionalism Award and the Industrial Safety Award.
The Gracious Professionalism Award is sponsored by Johnson & Johnson and celebrates the team that exemplifies the core values of FIRST in their relationships with other teams and by their demonstrated Gracious Professionalism (learning and competing like crazy but encouraging high-quality work, emphasizing the value of others, and respecting individuals and the community).
The Industrial Safety Award is sponsored by Underwriters Laboratories and celebrates the team that progresses beyond safety fundamentals by using innovative ways to eliminate or protect against hazards. TORC’s Safety Captain, Victoria Funke, has spent countless hours improving and refining the TORC certification process that is used to train robotics students on fabrication machinery at OHS. The students’ progress through four certification levels based on their proficiency in both knowledge of the machines and the safety precautions for each and in their skilled use of the machines.
In this year’s game, RECYCLE RUSH, teams point average is used to rank the teams for the elimination rounds. After a day and a half of competing in qualification matches with 40 teams and a cumulative total of 80 matches played, TORC held the second highest match average of 121.08. TORC entered the alliance selection for elimination rounds as the number two Alliance Captain. As alliance selections began, the number one Alliance Captain, Team 1918 – NC GEARS of Freemont used its first round pick to invite Team 2137 – TORC to join the number one alliance. In the second round pick, Team 1918 and Team 2137 invited Team 2405 – Techno Trojans of Fruitport to form the number one alliance.
In the quarter-finals, Alliances # 1, #2, #7 and #8 face off and #3, #4, #5 and #6 face off. After eight quarter-final matches, TORC’s alliance held the highest match average of 184 points and retained its spot as the number one ranked alliance entering the semi-finals. In the semi-finals, while playing against the number four alliance, TORC’s alliance suffered a major blow when the TORC robot temporarily lost connectivity with the game field. Due to an automatic reset on the robot, when the connection was restored the robot carriage reset the tote grabber to its original position and dislodged the carriage from the elevator system upon impact. This rendered TORC unable to lift and stack totes. That match ended in a 104-144 score and put the number one TORC alliance in a precarious situation.
TORC scrambled to repair their robot while the next match was underway. With only seconds to spare, TORC entered the field and began its match against the number two alliance. Under the gun to raise the alliance score average in order to have any hope of moving forward, the TORC alliance outscored their opponents by a narrow margin of 154-147. The final match of the semi-finals would determine if TORC’s alliance would move into the finals or be eliminated. As TORC faced the number three alliance, they focused on doing what they had done best all weekend…make two stacks of six totes, each with a container (trash can) on top and a pool noodle placed into each container. Their alliance partners also repeated their prior performance. As the match ended, jubilant yells were heard as TORC’s alliance scored 186-114, setting the highest alliance point’s average of 148 during semi-finals and moving to back up to the number one position in average scores.
The finalists were now ready to play. TORC’s number one alliance of Teams 1918, 2137, and 2405 would face off against the number two alliance of Teams 4967 – That ONE Team of Belmont, 107 – Team R.O.B.O.T.I.C.S. of Holland, and 3603 – Cyber Coyotes of Reed City. In the finals, all averages are discarded and it the best two out of three for the win. The TORC alliance won the first match 195-113 and the second match 172-145 to claim the Western Michigan District Championship!
Four of the six weeks of FIRST District competitions have been completed leading to the Michigan State Championship, which TORC qualified for two weeks ago. Currently, TORC holds the highest match score in the United States with a score of 228 points. In addition, TORC is currently ranked the number one team in Michigan with an average of 153 points. Trailing just behind TORC with an average of 150 points is Team 1023 – Bedford Express of Temperance. Interestingly, TORC will be competing in Temperance April 3-4 and both TORC and Bedford Express are expected to perform very well at the Bedford District competition. The Michigan State Championship is the following weekend at the DeltaPlex Arena in Grand Rapids April 9-11.