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  • Writer's pictureJake Tan

The End of the Road: The World Championship in Houston

Updated: Jun 11

In FRC (FIRST Robotics Competition), the highest level of competition is the World Championship in Houston. After qualifying at the Mid-Atlantic regional championship, my team and I were very excited to compete against international competition. Historically, our team has automatically qualified for Worlds thanks to our Hall of Fame status. However, a recent change has meant that we had to qualify the traditional method. Thankfully, a very successful season secured us a ticket to Houston.

               This year, our team was in the Archimedes Division which had some quite tough competition. If we wanted to succeed, we would need to play our best. Unfortunately, we immediately ran into some technical issues. With our CAN network down, we were unable to power our motors. In addition to a tough match schedule found us ranked 75th out of 75 at one point. While this setback did cause us to drop a few matches early on, we recovered quickly, regaining our bearings and began hitting our stride. In the second half of the qualification round, we turned things around, rising from 75th to 47th at the end of quals. While our ranking was quite low, our efforts weren’t in vain. Other higher ranked teams had recognized our performance, and we were the first pick of the 5th alliance.

               As we entered the playoff round, our team was full of hope as we had no idea who would pick us. With 8044, Denham Venom, and 4499, the Highlanders, at our side, we were ready for the playoffs. Unfortunately, we played two very difficult matches against the 4th and 8th alliance and were eliminated in the second round. Despite this, I was still very happy with our performance. Being picked in the first round of the world championship is something only 64 out of 8426 teams can accomplish. Let alone qualifying for worlds is the highlight of some teams’ entire history. While some members were disappointed in the end, I think it is important to put into perspective just how far we went.

               Aside from the competition itself, the Worlds venue has so much more to offer. From the Innovation Faire, talks, as well as FTC (FIRST Tech Challenge) and FLL (FIRST Lego League) competitions, there is a lot to do at the convention center. As the competition continued below, I visited in the Innovation Faire where I both saw many booths from tech companies, government associations, and universities which showed off interesting pieces of technology and offered potential job/internship opportunities. In addition, I manned the Hall of Fame booth, answering questions from teams seeking to win the Impact Award. At the end of my shift, I also received some free merch from other Hall of Fame teams that had been donated.

               Overall, my trip to Houston for the FIRST World Championship was very enjoyable. Our team made it far, I got to watch some extremely competitive and exciting matches in the finals, I made new connections, and made memories with my friends. By the time we got back to our high school, we were all exhausted from the exciting trip.

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