April 8, 2023

By Jim Dietz

In the sport of FIRST robotics competition, students design, build and program robots each year to compete against 3200 teams from 27 countries. The goal is to make it to the final Einstein field at the World Championships in Houston. But first you have to qualify for that opportunity. The main way to qualify is through being on the winning alliance at one of the many regionals around the world.

Team Driven from Lee’s Summit high school competed at the Heartland Regionals in Olathe a few weeks ago and fell just short of that goal losing in the last match to Lee’s Summit North.

After that event the students on the team met ‘to discuss any areas where they faced a challenge so they could create a plan for improvement. This included looking at any mechanical items as well as any areas where additional practice could help. The team used this meeting to reflect on their performance areas where they could be more consistent in their execution of the game.’

Driven had just 11 days to get ready for one more opportunity to attain that goal of getting to Houston through competition at the Smoky Mountain regional held this past weekend in Tennessee.

Their qualification matches were still a little rocky and at the end Driven was ranked seventh with a record of six and four. After qualifications the top eight teams are designated as Alliance leads who will then pick others to be on their Alliance. Many times you will see the number one alliance ask the second ranked team to join them which them moves all the rest of the teams up.

The first place alliance lead Team 2451 – PWNAGE from Saint Charles, Illinois recognized Team Drivens abilities despite their qualification record and selected them as the first pick during the selection process. Along with Team 6517 – So-Kno Robo from Knoxville, Tennessee the Alliance won every match during finals to earn the Blue Champions banner and the right to travel to Houston to compete in the FIRST Robotics World Championship. Driven will be competing with the other 2 Lee’s Summit robotics teams and about 800 other teams from around the world on 8 fields the last week in April. Make sure to watch and cheer online at: TheBlueAlliance.com. For more information and to find a team near you, visit FIRSTInspires.com.