Photos and story by Daniel Friedman
See the update at the end of this post about the winners of the competition.
Just like at high school basketball game on a Friday night, the crowds were out, the mascot’s antics amused the fans and rallied the team, and the competition was fierce. Unlike a basketball game, most of the players can turn pro.
It was the Arizona Regional FIRST Robotics Competition at Hamilton High School in Chandler, featuring teams from all over the Southwest as well as Canada, Mexico and Brazil.
For the first 15 seconds the robots must operate autonomously on programming installed in their on-board computer to make as many baskets as they can. Then team members operate them remotely, picking up basketballs and shooting them into the four levels of hoops. To get more points, for the last 30 seconds of the two-minute contest, a red team robot and a blue team robot can share the white, middle ramp to win cooperation points. After this round teams choose another team to work with.
There is a thick notebook of rules and regulations and several referees to keep track of the contest. One thing is certain, everyone was having a great time, fixing robots, reprogramming them, cheering for their team and hoping their robot survives the competition.
UPDATE: The Carl Hayden High School Robotics team won the FIRST Arizona Regional Robotics competition for the second year in a row. Check out this video of the final match.
The Falcons finished with a match record of 10-1 in qualifying rounds, the second-best record among the 50-team field. They formed an alliance with teams from Toronto, Canada and Seton Catholic High School of Chandler.
The Carl Hayden team coached by Fredi Lajvardi, will go to the International FIRST Competition in St. Louis, April 25-28.
Carl Hayden team members are Joach Avitia, Elizabeth Perez, Isabel Martinez, Carlos Ruvio, Ulises Barazza, Martin Carranza, Sergio Corral, Daisy Fernandez, Dillon Dayea, Jesus Meraz, Maria Castro, Bianca Rodriguez, John Rangel, Iselea Martinez, Jorge Tay, Quenan Aaron Ruiz, Diserae Sanders, Dalton Dayea, Jesus Parra, Elizar Diaz, Cruz Garcia, Staphany Ramirez.
The Falcons named this year’s robot, “Angelica’s DREAM” to honor Angelica Hernandez, an alumna of the program who is now a mechanical engineer after graduating as the Outstanding Engineering Student at ASU last year.
April 12 Update:
From a April 10, 2012 Phoenix Union High School District news release:
The Betty H. Fairfax High School Robotics team was a member of the winning alliance in the FIRST Robotics Las Vegas Regional competition, April 5-7 in Las Vegas, Nevada, and has qualified for the International FIRST Robotics Championships in St. Louis, April 25-28.
It is the first time a Phoenix Union team has won a regional outside of Arizona, and only the second PUHSD school to win a regional (Carl Hayden has won Arizona Regionals in 2011 and 2012.) The Las Vegas Regional included 42 teams from Nevada, California, Arizona, Utah, Wyoming and Mexico.
Betty Fairfax and Carl Hayden will represent PUHSD in the FIRST International Championships later this month at the Edward Jones Dome in St. Louis. This will be Fairfax’ second trip to the Internationals. In its first-ever regional, four years ago, the team won the Rookie All Star Award and was invited to the International competition in Atlanta.