Itâs that time of year again for our annual potluck dinner social, where students and their parents come in to discover and learn about our high school robotics program. While becoming acquainted with other team members, new students were given tours of the Robert Shaw Center and introduced to various FRC and VEX competition robots. Excited students were able to drive our automatons around. The interactions between the robots and the field pieces went exceptionally well as there was always a line to take a turn at driving.
With school starting up, Team 624 took part in the Cinco Ranch High School, Roundup and Fish Camp, where freshman and returning students tour the school, pick up schedules, and learn about clubs and other various student activities. At team 624âs booth, team members showed off robots from our last two seasons, Brimstone and Gravity, and last seasonâs Reveal Video.
Each August, team 624 competes in the Texas Robot Roundup (TRR) offseason tournament in Austin. This year, TRR marks the inaugural UIL State Championship, as FRC robotics is now a varsity sport. The UIL Robotics pilot program started in the 2015-2016 season. Based on team results from that season, which ended April, 2016 with the World Championship event held in St. Louis, 42 dedicated teams were invited to compete for the state championship at TRR, including Team 624.
This was the first time our team would compete without last year's experienced seniors, but our students were very much excited and prepared for the event. Although this was a challenging first competition for our new drive team and crew, no one left empty handed! After placing 5th in Qualification Matches, the team became Captain of the 3rd seed Alliance involving Team 3310, (Blackhawk Robotics) from Heath HS in Rockwall, Team 4192 (Jaggernauts) from Flower Mound HS and Team 3679 (Rattlers) from San Marcos HS. Our Alliance made it all the way to the Semi-finals; showing great promise for the coming season.
When it came time for the award ceremonies, the team was unsurprised when our longtime Cryptonite Mentor, Mike Outlaw won the Stash Zabriski Volunteer Award. "The TRR volunteer award recognizes a person who has given up their time and talents to the FIRST programs and the real reason of FIRST, to promote science and technology to the young men and women who are a part of the FIRST family. This award was named in honor and memory of Stash Zabriski, a young man who became involved with FIRST at the age of 16, not as a team member but as a volunteer."
Yet again,Team 624 comes home with more experience, awards, and memories from another successful event.
In an exciting kickoff to the 2016 qualifying tournament season, we advanced to the finals of the Alamo Regional, winning a heartstopping third and deciding match 116-106 in an extremely close best-of-three semifinal. While many teams at the tournament hailed from Texas, this was an international event, with three teams from China, along with one each from Canada, the Dominican Republic, and Turkey. After an intense day and a half of qualifying matches, we ranked fourth in the 66-team field and were chosen by the second ranked team, Team 3005 RoboChargers from Dallas to compete along with Team 3579 Rattlers from San Marcos as the second seed alliance during the tournament's elimination round of eight alliances. This regional was a learning experience for us, even though we did not win finals.
On December 12, 2015, 76 kids in grades 4-7 attended a student-led science day camp. The kids enjoyed hands-on activities such as dissecting owl pellets, exploding gummy bears, and even designing and building their own hydro-powered projects. The kids were especially thrilled when Thor came out for a few games of catch! Our annual camp is a major fundraiser for CRyptonite as well as an amazing opportunity to spread excitement about STEM!