Mountain Man’s Summit: Week 1

Hello, hello! I’ve missed you all. I am back for another year, and I’m excited! I’m here at my new home at the Blue Alliance Blog, and I look forward to analyzing the thrilling tournaments that STEAMworks is certain to contain!

Week 1 is nearly upon us, and to start this season off right I thought I would take a closer look at what I expect to see this year from the mountain region.

What’s going on this week?

There are no regionals in the mountains during Week 1 this season, but a few mountain teams are going to Lubbock to duke it out. I thought I’d begin with a quick shout out to them!

Hub City: (Follow it here!)

There weren’t many mountain teams that did a reveal video this year, but 4499 did. The way I see it, the Highlanders have a chance to go far this season. If they can get everything dialed in and working, they may be a force to be reckoned with. While Lubbock certainly has a stellar lineup (118, 624, 2481, 1477, 2468, etc…), I wouldn’t count them out of the elimination rounds. They’ve been a captain or a pick at every regional they’ve attended, resulting in two finalist appearances in Denver in 2015 and 2016, and this year will likely be no different. Even if they don’t win, I think they’ll come back with some good ideas on how to improve for Colorado a few weeks later. Also, I wouldn’t be surprised to see them win either EI or Chairman’s at Hub City, given how strong their outreach programs have been since their inception. Regardless, it’ll be up to the Highlanders and the next team to give us a taste of what we might see at Colorado this year.

Also attending from the state of Colorado happens to also be the oldest team in the state. 159 hasn’t appeared in the eliminations since Utah in 2014, and they’re continuing to chase the elusive regional win that they’ve gotten close to multiple times. They’ve also had a bit of a Chairman’s drought, last winning the award in 2008, and I think both of these things will motivate them to work harder and do better than ever before this season.  This may be the year they win a regional or win yet another Chairman’s Award. I really hope to see these guys do well in STEAMworks, and I’m excited to see them in Lubbock.

4 of the 6 New Mexico teams will be going to Hub City to prove their worth. 116426575613, and 5783 are all regular attenders of Hub City and all had very different stories last year. Project NEO had a quarterfinals run in Lubbock as the second pick, Team Thundercats went to Arizona North, ThunderDogs captained an alliance during the quarterfinals in Hub City, and RoboDucks was not selected for eliminations in Lubbock. I’m certain they will be striving to do better in 2017. This year, these four teams will be trying to represent the FRC in New Mexico well, and I hope to see them succeed. A team from New Mexico has never won a regional before, and my hope is that one of these teams can impress and make their mark on history.

My Predictions:

Now that I’ve wished the Week 1 competitors well, I want to express a few thoughts on what I think we’ll see in the mountains this year. I am going to make six predictions about things that will happen in 2017, and we’ll see how wrong I am at the end of the season.

During the duration of the FIRST STEAMworks season, I predict the following five things will happen:

  • Every mountain regional will have at least one 4 RP match.
  • 5 mountain teams will successfully be able to pull off a 40 kPa auto before championships.
  • Utah will be the most competitive event of Week 2.
  • Las Vegas will be the most competitive event of the year.
  • A world high score will be set in Las Vegas.
  • At least one mountain team will make it to the Einstein Field in Houston.

I think that every regional will have a stellar alliance that will get all four ranking points. That alliance would likely need a 40 kPa auto bot and every bot continuously running gears for the entire match, but I think it will happen at every mountain regional.

As for the second prediction, there are many capable mountain teams and I think at least five of them will be able to shoot 40 pieces of fuel in about 10 seconds. I don’t know who it will be (although I have a few ideas), but I think it’ll happen.

I have confidence in my third prediction because of the teams attending the regional. There are top-tier teams mixed with some up-and-comers mixed with some perennial contenders. That combination will create a very deep field that I think will be one of the most exciting events of the season. It’s the same case in Vegas.

Due to the number of traditionally strong teams attending Las Vegas, I do think there is a possibility that a world high score is set in Las Vegas, however temporary it may be. And I have little idea right now about what mountain team makes it to Einsteins, but I think at least one team will.

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