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The 2014 FIRST Championship

posted May 27, 2014, 8:47 PM by Jacob Prida   [ updated May 27, 2014, 8:49 PM ]
On April 23rd, the Iron Kodiaks boarded an airplane to compete in the FIRST Robotics Competition World Championship.  Arriving in St. Louis, Missouri was an adventure for all of us since we didn't land until 11:56 pm, and, upon arriving to our hotel, were informed that our rooms had been given away.  A taxi ride and another hotel later, most of our group members were asleep by 3:30 am.Robots 2

We didn't let sleep deprivation and a 7 am start time at Edward Jones Dome stop us from preparing the robot for its first match in six weeks.  We reacquainted ourselves with the controls and, on two hours of sleep, competed in five qualifying matches that day. 

We were part of 400 teams from 21 countries gathered for a three-day exhibition of teamwork and engineering, and one of seven teams from the San Diego regional event given the opportunity to move on to the World Championship.

During the qualifying matches in St Louis, our robot was broken and repaired several times, but we kept up our good spirits.  It’s this same spirit that was recognized by the Rookie All-Star Award in the San Diego regional event - which is given to the rookie team that exemplifies a young but strong partnership effort, as well as implements the mission of FIRST to inspire students to learn more about science and technology. 

Although we didn't advance to the Semi-Finals, we did take a field trip to the Gateway Arch Saturday morning before returning to Edward Jones Dome to view the heart-pounding final matches (along with a roaring crowd of 20,000 people).  We attended the FIRST Closing Ceremonies and Finale, a four-hour party spread across America’s Center and Edward Jones Dome in which 12,000 students celebrated their accomplishments.

The St. Louis experience was more than a vacation for us.  We were able to network with other teams from around the world and learn how to strengthen our team for next season.  We also had a chance to speak with college admissions officers and possible future employers.  However, the most valuable experience was the inspiration to make our club grow and to expose our fellow students to FIRST Robotics.

Now back from St. Louis, we’re as busy as ever making appearances on media and fundraising for next season. Mike Kahn from the nationally broadcasted radio show “Popular Technology” came to Mission Hills High School and interviewed our 4 team officers, teacher John Guseman, and Principal Courtney Goode.  The interview is available online at beginning at around 55:00 minutes.