On March 29th-31st, 2012 the Aluminum Falcons competed in the third annual Northeast Utilities FIRST Connecticut Regional. Learning from the lessons that were taught in New York City and equipped with new hardware, the Falcons were ready to take on one of FRC's most competitive regionals. There were many tough competitors from 177 Bobcat Robotics to 195 Cyberknights but, FIRST Team 2168 came out on top once again.
Ranking as the number one seed, they were joined by 2791 Shaker Robotics from Latham, NY and the number two seed 118 Robonauts from League City, TX in the eliminations. Attached with a new stinger, our alliance was not only able to score in the mid 80s but also triple balance within the 30 second end game. In the semifinals, the unexpected happened again with our alliance robot 118 remaining dead for two matches along with other robots that fought on the red alliance during the semifinals. Asserting that the field was not the issue by the FTA, the Aluminum Falcon nearly achieved another win until a split-second single robot balance ended the match in the opponent's favor. 118 could not move again in the third match of the semifinals ending the regional for the members of our alliance. We left the competition with a record of (10-3-0).
This was an exciting, but also heartbreaking competition for the entire team. Faced against the odds we still built a competitive robot that placed us not only once but twice as the number one seed. Although, misfortune struck us in both our regionals this year, this by far is no end to the Aluminum Falcons rise. Now that our offseason has officially begun we can now look to the future and only improve on the amazing dynamic our team possesses. We'll be competing at WPI Battlecry 13 and Beantown Blitz in the next several weeks.
"During eliminations, there is nothing more the drive team could have done. We were at the top of our game. With clear eyes and with joy in my heart, I can promise you when I tell you we gave it our all. It has been an extraordinary journey and an immense pleasure standing behind the glass driving the heck out of Talyn and the Fat Swan with these guys by my side"- Niral Patel (Drive Team Captain/Base Operator)
"You guys were absolutely awesome at NY and were robbed of a chance to play your alliance's full game in the elims, for the same thing to happen in CT is abosluetly heartbreaking. You guys are without a doubt one of the best teams who aren't going to be at championship. 2168 is going to be a team to watch rise up into the top tier of team's over the next year or two. Your robot was great but the way you guys run your team is even better. Also thank you again for your advice at the end of NY, it really helped us come alive at CT"- Joe Blay (FRC Team 694 Stuypulse Coach)
"FIRST is so much bigger than winning a regional, its about networking and building a family, and learning together to solve problems. We have done that, and were only growing every season for the better... A lot of great teams have us on their radar now! Lets keep taking FIRST by surprise" - Kevin Harrilal (Lead Control Systems Mentor)
On May 18 & 19th, the Aluminum Falcons competed in WPI Battlecry 13. Arguably the most exciting post-season competition in New England, Battlecry is indistinguishable from most regular season regional competitions. Forging forward from the semi-final upsets at New York City and Hartford, FIRST Team 2168 was ready to dominate at Worcester. Upgraded with faster shooting, the team fought fiercely to become the number two seed, defeating some of the toughest robots in New England along the way.
For the final elimination rounds, the Falcons were picked by the number one seed 1519 Mechanical Mayhem, and an amazingly fortunate random selection brought 125 NU-TRONS to complete the winning alliance. While 125 played defense and recovered balls from the opposition, the Fat Swan along with 1519 consistently put up 3-pointers averaging a 37 point spread over other alliances.
The Falcons have performed well all season, but disaster always seemed to strike in the semi-finals. But this time, not even a short-circuiting fuse or 125's drivetrain breaking down would stop the Aluminum Falcons. In the first game of the semi-finals on Saturday afternoon, the Falcons' alliance were behind at the end of the 15-second autonomous period. The opposing alliance led by 190 Gompei and the H.E.R.D. scored a near-perfect 40 points autonomous to our own 18 points; the situation did not seem well and each team member felt an all too familiar sickness in our collective gut.
Pursued by the demons of the past FIRST Team 2168 was not ready to give up. With Tim and Niral playing their best match of the season, it ended 99-70 in favor of the Falcons' alliance. In the second semi-final game, a smart maneuver by 1519 shut down 190's "perfect autonomous" play, and the hybrid ended with a much less daunting 4-point deficit, 18-22. The final score of 80 to 56 sent the alliance undefeated into the finals, finally!
With the shorted fuse found and fixed, the Aluminum Falcons were ready to fight in the finals, facing the 11th seeded alliance of 175 Buzz Robotics, 716 WhoCTEKs, and 1058 PVC Pirates. Contrasting with the semi-finals, this alliance put up a seemingly impenetrable defense keeping the winning score 49-30 in the first match. The second match in the best-of-three finals, proved to be memorable with all three alliance partners (even the limping NU-TRONS) showing skill and effective maneuvering. A final score of 70 to 18 set the victory in stone.
Leaving the competition victorious with a (15-1-0) record, this moment is one that the entire team has fought for the entire season. Through all the ups and downs, the Aluminum Falcons have never given up hope. From beating the number-one seed in the quarter-finals of last year's Battlecry, to becoming the number one seed and defeating every alliance that they faced, this is another turning point for the team. With Beantown Blitz and the national invitational IRI to come the Aluminum Falcons will only soar upward.
"The FALCOLN's dominated today. During finals your alliance outscored the opposing alliances by an average of 37 points. Flawless performance by the robot and especially the drive team. Very proud of all of you"-Edwin Lee (USCG, Mentor)
"Congratulations 2168 for winning Battlecry 13! I've never been more proud to be apart of anything in my entire life"-Zoë Yopp (Business Captain)
"Aluminum Falcons, Fitch robotics, just won Battlecry 2012! I have not been this happy in a long while" -Matt Gentry (CAD Captain)
On June 2nd, 2012 the Aluminum Falcons competed in the off-season Beantown Blitz hosted by the NUtrons at Northeastern University. Interestingly, this competition featured our rookie Drive Team members: Emma Stark, Finian O' Connor, and Jacob Kowalski during qualification rounds with our current student drivers acting as coaches. In only their first competition they rose to become the sixth seed only trailing behind teams such as Buzz and the Bobcats. After denying a selection from the third seed BVT FIRST Robotics the Aluminum Falcons decided to create their own alliance with Emma as their representative. The Falcons were joined again by 125 NUtrons and a solid rookie team with an impressive autonomous, 4048 Redshift.
Entering the quarterfinals the Aluminum Falcons found themselves in a place that they hadn't been in since Suffield; they were the lower seeded alliance. Upsetting the odds the Aluminum alliance defeated the fourth seeded alliance with large score margins in each match. Progressing to the semifinals, the alliance found themselves faced with mechanical problems from 2 out of 3 of the alliance members. Continuing to the semifinals, the alliance faced arguably the toughest alliance in the competition consisting of 177 Bobcat Robotics, 175 Buzz Robotics, and 69 Team HYPER. Faced with mechanical problems and misaligned shooting, the alliance put up a tough fight but was eventually eliminated.
Although, it did not end in victory, two drive teams rose from this event. The performance that the rookie drivers displayed shows only a bright outcome for the future of FIRST Team 2168. Another team that arose from this competition was not a student team but a mentor team. During lunch, on the day of the event, mentors: Josh Miller, Justin Foss, and James Corcoran competed against other mentor teams receiving the highest score of the day of 85. With a new drive team ready to take over and IRI in the wake the Aluminum Falcons are preparing now for not just New England but the North American continent.
"I can't be anything but happy about yesterday. Our rookie drivers did amazing, our mentors destroyed the competition, and being on the field the entire day makes only more excited to be a field reset for IRI. Why does this have to end?" - Daron Chandler (Concept Crew Captain/Webmaster)
On September 29th the Aluminum Falcons competed with the Fat Swan at the Bash at the Beach competition in Old Lyme, CT. With continuing lift problems from IRI the team was still able to continue with picking balls up two at a time. This competition was a good environment for our new drivers, Emma Stark and Finian O’Connor to take the joysticks. They drove the robot efficiently throughout the morning putting the team into the thirteenth seed for elimination rounds.
The Aluminum Falcons were partnered with FRC team 1124 the Uberbots and FRC team 3461 the P.E.A.C.C.E. team. The alliance breezed through the quarterfinals with no issues. After three more matches the team advances to the finals. In the Finals the team lost the first of the 3 matches. The last two matches our drivers and the drivers of our alliance partners did the impossible by shooting multiple baskets in the gameplay time period. One of the matches the Aluminum Falcons only missed one basket. This dominant offensive alliance was able to defeat the other alliance to win Bash at the Beach 2012.
The Bash at the Beach experience was also an important weekend for the team because the new members got a feel for what the FIRST Robotics competitions are like. Also they bonded with the team members from previous years and learned about the team and robots at the competition. Overall the event was a great experience for the Aluminum Falcons not only because of winning but because the team created bonds and friendships with each other.
“ It was a great surprise to win at bash at the beach. It was a wonderful experience for new students to come to, as well as a warm up for returning members. “ –Finian O’Connor (2168 Robot Operator)
“During the day, our team was very intrigued in the competition, and there was a very high level of team spirit. Although it was great to win, I believe that the best part about it was team building and team spirit.” –Kevin Ryan (2168 new team member)