Alas it was the week before States, the Hitchhikers started off with a meeting full of reflections, redesigns and of course a cup of tea. We envisioned a newly designed gear gobbler (our gear collector) to withstand collisions, a frame to prevent gears from falling into our electronics, and dreamed of perfecting vision tracking. Leading up to States, team members scrambled to prepare Slartibartfast for the State competition while practicing our motto “Don’t Panic!” Upgrades to the gear gobbler included changing the gearbox to make it faster, moving the chain to the middle, and adding an encoder to simplify the programming. The frame consisted of two pieces of corrugated plastic that moved with the gear gobbler to prevent misplaced gears from getting stuck.

Saturday came and went along and had us feeling like a sperm whale falling to its demise. Anything that could have gone wrong did such as our rope snapping mid-climb or our battery smashing into our encoder wires and rendering Slartibartfast motionless. Throughout the entire day, our team kept their heads held high and continued to practice our motto. By the end of the day, things started to turn around. We ended on a three game winning streak and moved up in the rankings. We were floating in space for 29 seconds with survival odds of 2 to the power of 2079460347:1, but there was still an entire day left of competition.

Eventually it was time for alliance selections and, as we were outside the top 8, all we could do was hope for our team name to be called. After the first round of selections finished without 2059 being called out, the team uncharacteristically started to panic. We saw glimpses of our season coming to an end, but when the sixth alliance selected us, we hopped aboard our Heart of Gold. Onboard was the ROBOMonkeys and a familiar face, Team SPORK, who had been Finalists with us the previous week. In our first series of matches, our alliance easily moved on with back-to-back four rotor matches. In the semifinals, both alliances fought a hard battle, but we managed to move on once again. Finally, our motto had paid off, and we reached Magrathea. To our disbelief, we had made it to the finals where we competed against the TerrorBytes, the fuel producing bot The Zebracorns, and their comrade Hawktimus Prime. After two hard fought matches, we had to admit defeat with grace. We finished State Championships as Finalists and receivers of the Hard Hat award. But our journey was not over yet. We qualified for the World Championships in Houston, Texas, where we will compete against teams from all over the Universe.