Palmetto Regional Champions!

The Hitchhikers are the winners of the 2012 FRC Palmetto Regional in Charleston, South Carolina! In an alliance with Team 2640, The Hotbotz; Team 281, The Green Villains; and Team 2815, InCockNito; we are the regional champions at our first regional of 2012. This qualifies us to compete in Championships in St. Louis at the end of April.

Thursday was the first day of competition, and the day we spent getting Benjy back into working order. After setting up our pit, we began reorganizing Benjy and getting all his minute details into perfectly working order. Among the things to fix was the pneumatic system, the bridge arm, attaching the sponsor logos, and changing the wheels from six to eight inches. We missed our first practice match because we had no code, but we were able to make two of our last three. They turned out to provide valuable experience for our drive team.

Friday morning was the start of qualification matches (For a complete record of our results, check out The Blue Alliance). Before the lunch break, we went 1-3 on our alliances and seeded in the mid-twenties out of 43 teams. Right after our fourth match, we also got the final piece of Benjy working: the bridge arm. After a test on the practice field, we broke for lunch, and apparently eating hamburgers for lunch was our lucky charm. After the break we won all four of our matches. Nothing broke, nothing needed to be fixed. We ended the day 5-3 seeded fifteenth and on a hot streak.

Saturday was the final day of competition. We started the day with a fifth straight win and our first coopertition balance, points that proved extremely important to ranking. We lost our next two matches, but again balanced coopertition twice. We finished up qualifications seeded fifteenth again, with high hopes for being picked by an alliance for eliminations. To our pleasant surprise, we were picked second overall by The Hotbotz to join them as the #2 alliance. To complete our alliance we chose The Green Villains.

In the quarter finals, we took the first match with a decent margin, 34-19. We lost the second match by more than 20, tying us at one match a piece, at least partially because The Green Villains could not connect to their robot due to an unknown computer error. The third match was our closest of the day, a one point nail-biter to advance to the semifinals. Unfortunately The Green Villains broke a steel shaft that fed balls into their shooter during the final match. They were unable to fix or replace it and were forced to withdraw from the elimination matches. They were quickly replaced by InCockNito for the semifinals and eventually finals.

In the semifinals, we had to quickly adjust to the different strategy of our new alliance member. Unfortunately they did not move in the first match, which we lost. They quickly left to figure out what the problem was, and it turned out their wireless radio’s wires were not well-connected to their power distribution board. They fixed their wiring and were back for the next match. We scored 40 points in both the second and third match and won them both by more than twenty.

In the finals, we found ourselves pitted against the eighth seeded alliance, made up of Teams 2642, 343, and 4073. In the first match, we won by only seven points. It was one of the tensest matches of the day and it was an amazing feeling to win it to take the lead in the finals. The second match was close to the wire. Before the endgame we held only a one point lead because of baskets, and one team from each alliance kept shooting until the very end of the match. Fortunately we kept our one point lead thanks to shooting by InCockNito. Both alliances tried to double balance on the bridge in the last minute. We managed to balance and turned our attention to the red alliance’s bridge. As we watched, one of the drivers over-corrected and caused one of their allied robots to flip over. With nearly thirty seconds left in the match, we started celebrating. We won the match 38-17. Soon after its completion, the rest of the students on our four teams rushed the field.

After many minutes of celebration we calmed down enough to return to the stands and watch the awards presentation. In addition to the Regional Champion award, we also won the Team Spirit Award for our buttons, orange and blue towels, orange foam thumbs, orange and blue pit, large whale poster, 42 slip contest: we taped small slips around the arena and anyone who found one and brought it back to us received a shoulder mouse, and the various animals we hung around our pit: whales, dolphins, and more mice.

All in all, the South Carolina Regional was the highlight of our season–so far at least! Being the regional champions was a blast and winning the Team Spirit Award was unexpected, but certainly not undeserved. A round of applause for our Spirit subteam, both of you! Also a big round of applause to the Green Villains for winning the regional Chairman’s Award! We can’t wait to see you guys in North Carolina and St. Louis!

Speaking of St. Louis, we as a team confirmed our attendance to world championships. We will be in St. Louis at the end of April. But first we’ll be in Raleigh, our backyard, for the North Carolina Regional. Competition is expected to be fierce, so we’re raring to go! We’re excited to see all the teams there, especially the Green Villains and Pyrotech. Good luck to you all!

Here’s a quick breakdown of how the NC Regional will go:

  • Thursday, April 5: Teams will participate in practice matches from 10am until around 4pm.
  • Friday, April 6: Qualification matches begin around 10am and continue until about 4pm. Some awards will be given out that afternoon. The team social is that night for all team members.
  • Saturday, April 7: Qualification matches begin again around 10am again and will end shortly before lunch. Alliances will be selected directly before the lunch break and elimination matches will begin immediately after. When they are completed, the second awards ceremony will give out the rest of the awards. All activities will happen at Dorton Arena, 1025 Blue Ridge Road, Raleigh, NC 27607.


  • NC Regional: 7 days
  • Championships: 28 days
  • See you all in a week!