NEforecast 2017: Week 1 Waterbury

NEforecast: Waterbury Event, March 3 – March 5, 2017

Launching us into FIRST STEAMworks in Connecticut is the Waterbury event, hosted at Wilby High School. There are lots of returning Top Teams to this event such as 230, 558, and 177, plus some new powerhouses such as 195 and 2067, further strengthening the already deep field for this event. Connecticut is arguably one of the stronger regions of New England, and it shows – in the 2016 season CT was the state with one Einstein Semifinalist alliance captain in 195 – the first time a New England team had graced Einstein carpet since 1519 in 2013 – and two more subdivision finalists in 558 (Galileo) and 230 (Carver).

There’s no doubt that four-ranking-point matches will be few and far between all throughout week one events but if there’s one event where it’s bound to happen, it’s Waterbury. With one of the deepest fields of a week one event, Waterbury will give us a glimpse into how much of an alliance oriented game FIRST Steamworks truly is. Will two top-tier teams and a below average robot be able to beat three middle of the road teams? We may soon come to find out that two robots can’t dominate the elimination bracket as well as in years past.

Top Teams:

195 – After winning four blue banners and making a deep Einstein run in Stronghold, 195 has cemented themselves as the team to beat in New England. While they sometimes suffer from a slow start – such as in 2015 – they won’t stop improving until they’re firmly at the top of their game. While their 8-wheel drivetrain, sizable hopper, and turreted shooter will allow them to stand out as a fuel-scoring specialist in Waterbury, being behind their normal schedule on their other scoring mechanisms might mean another slow start for this outstanding team.

230 – Opting for a mecanum drivebase, the Gaelhawks should have no issues using their passive gear intake to receive and place a large number of gears. Their well-rounded robot can also gather fuel from the floor with a polycord intake, shoot it into the high boiler, and climb at the end of the match, making them a great part of any alliance. As one of New England’s top teams every year, we would not be surprised to see 230 reclaim their title as Waterbury Champions.

558 – Looking to repeat the same success they had at Waterbury last season 558 is equipped with an 8wd, climber, and an increasingly lethal fuel shot when parked against the boiler. Not to mention a gear intake that specializes in grabbing off the ground, which may prove pivotal in the early weeks to come away with a good record. RoboSquad’s perfect strategic analysis of the game last year lead them to claim the #1 seed, but with a new game and new additions to the field of fierce competitors they’ll have to bring their A game if they want to come out on top.

228 – As one of only a few tall robots in New England and polycord galore, GUS will be out to prove themselves early on.  They’ve aimed to play all aspects of the game but are one of the only teams so far who have shown they can also dump into the Low Boiler or feed another robot as their backup strategy.  While unusual, the versatility of being able to dump low or high may be a key part of 228’s strategy going into Sunday.

2067 – After utilizing swerve drive to perfection in 2014 and 2015 Apple Pi have decided to bring it back for the 2017 season, along with all the other mechanisms needed to be competitive in this game. If 2067 can work through their software and vision tracking in the remaining days they could find themselves being one of the top high goal shooters of the event.

177 – Showcasing an 8 wheel drive, climber, passive gear intake, and if rumors are to be believed, dual shooters, 177 is looking to defend their title as the Waterbury winner from 2016. The Bobcats were one of the few teams that could successfully shoot in the high goal at week 1 in Stronghold, this ahead of the curve gameplay and design could take them deep into the elimination rounds come Sunday.

Honorable Mentions:

176 – Arguably one of the best teams from Connecticut who didn’t take home a banner last year Aces High have proven that they are a strong contender in the early weeks.

1124 Used to coming up with Uber creative designs, there’s no doubt this team will have something special brewing in their buildspace for Steamworks with an effective gear + climbing strategy.

236 – Used to raking in district points early in the season, with a win at Waterbury 2015, the Techno-Ticks will be looking for success early on this season.

175 – One of New England’s oldest and strongest teams who have proven they can be the additional team to bring an alliance out on top.

2170 – A powerhouse in 2015, they are coming out strong Week 1 with their robust, simple machine aimed to play the core parts of Steamworks well early on.

Chairman’s Top Teams:

230 – Winning New England District Championship Chairman’s last year and a District Chairman’s win in 2015. Team 230 is continuing to enhance an already strong Chairman’s winning program. With STEM Night at their high school, mentoring FRC & FLL teams, as well as volunteering at an FLL qualifier,  230 has many solid points that could take home this blue banner.

558 – With consistent District Chairman’s wins since 2014 and a NEDCMP Chairman’s win in 2015, Team 558 is a competitive contender for the Chairman’s Award. By starting their Rent-A-Mentor program, mentoring FLL teams, hosting an FLL event, and doing much more, we could see Team 558 receiving the Chairman’s Award at this event.

Chairman’s Darkhorses:

195 –  Winning 2015 NEDCMP Chairman’s and being one of only four teams to win Engineering Inspiration at worlds in 2015, Team 195 has proved they are more than just robots.

2067 – After winning 2014 NEDCMP Chairman’s and being one of two teams to win NEDCMP Engineering Inspiration in 2015, Apple Pi continues to be a role model team in FIRST.

Special Rookie Shoutout to team 6346 Norwalk High School Robotics and team 6675 Ingenious Innovators!

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