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Chezy Champs Recap

9/29/16 by James Jiao

By James Jiao (sophomore)

Last weekend, the Funky Monkeys set out to compete in one of the most competitive offseason in the Bay Area: Chezy Champs, hosted by FIRST Team 254. The monkeys snagged the 11th seed among 41 teams in the qualification matches, advancing to the elimination matches and the quarterfinals. It was a truly successful event, with the entire team working together to skillfully execute our game plan.

Chezy Champs 2016 Transport
Ria Pradeep (senior) and Arsh Malhotra (senior) carry the robot onto the field.

The adventure began last Friday afternoon. Practice matches started that day, and we got a real taste of the level of competition we were against: FIRST teams 971, 254, 1678, … High level teams were everywhere we looked, shooting high goals every fifteen seconds. We started off little shaky, with new drivers on the field and brand new vision aiming software. Ultimately, we knew we had to pull together as a team and deliver a strong performance, so with our heads held high, we got ready for qualifications the next day.

Early Saturday morning our team arrived at the competition, ready for a long day of qualification matches. The whole team was busy throughout the day, with everyone playing an integral part of operation. On the field match coaches Arsh Malhotra (senior) and Johnathan Chai (mentor) discussed the optimal strategy with our alliances, and driver and operator Elton Chang (junior) and Ria Pradeep (senior) maneuvered the robot across the field. In the pits software programmers Shadaj Laddad (junior) and Sanghak “Andy” Chun (junior) and hardware designers Jing-Chen Peng (junior), Andrew Ng (sophomore), and James Jiao (sophomore) scrambled to get the robot up and running. Even the spectators were hard at work, with members in the stands scouting potential picks for the elimination matches. We ended the day in 17th -- a good ranking considering all the teams that were there, but we knew we could do better, striving to be a higher rank so we could advance to the elimination matches.

Chezy Champs 2016 Judges
Co-President Ria Pradeep (senior) and Software Lead Sanghak “Andy” Chun (junior) explain to a Chezy Champs judge how our team holds workshops to train new members.

Between matches, as we tuned our robot, & the judges came by to learn more about our hardware design and system control software that makes our robot run. Not only were the judges impressed by our ingenuity and creative solutions, but they were also surprised to see how we managed to divide all the work among such a large team. We described how we divide the robot into several subsystem, or modules and that each subsystem has a lead student designer, who further splits up the work among several teammates. Our systematic approach that allows many students to contribute showed the judges how well we worked together as a team.

Chezy Champs 2016 Maintenance
Co-President Shikhar Jagadeesh (senior) and Co-Hardware Lead Andrew Ng (sophomore) inspect some mecanum rollers that may have come loose.

Then, Sunday rolled around. We had two remaining qualification matches, and we knew we had to make them count. In the first we were paired with team 971, the Spartans from Mountain View, whose robot is renowned for its accurate fast shooting. We played strategically, collecting boulders and passing them over the castle defenses to our partner who launched them into the tower. In the second match, we finally started to shoot and score high tower goals consistently, and together with our partner 968, RAWC, of West Covina in So. Cal, we captured our enemy's tower, securing all four ranking points for the match.

Our successful performance showed that not only were our team members highly cooperative, but that our team was able to collaborate and form a formidable alliance with other teams. Our last few qualification matches on Sunday boosted us to be the 11th seed, putting us on the seventh alliance. We went on to win a match against the notoriously strong 254, concluding our competition on a high note.

Chezy Champs 2016 Eliminations
The robots line up in preparation for the start of an elimination match.

Overall, this year’s Chezy Champs embodied the entire team working together, with the scouting team recognizing high level teams to look out for, the strategy coaches forming a plan, the drivers skillfully operating the robot, the software team coding up a working high goal autonomous, and finally the hardware team devising a robot worthy of breaching the defenses and shooting several high goal shots in a single game. The team’s synergy and harmony really sets us apart from others, and it really showed through at this event.