All eyes in New England are on a small corner in Northeast Massachusetts as 72 teams converge in Reading and Revere for another week of STEAMworks. This weekend marks a first for our region with two events will be running simultaneously a mere 11.6 miles from each other. There’s a strong chance teams will pass each other as they commute to their separate events with both events pulling in teams from Connecticut, Massachusetts, Maine, and New Hampshire. Of the 32 teams attending the Greater Boston event in Revere, 78% of them will be on their second event excluding any pre-season events. Meanwhile the North Shore event in Reading will be running a slightly greener field with 65% of the 40 attendees competing for the first time this year.
The importance of Fuel has begun emerging in New England as we look back at Week 2 where both events saw Fuel robots playing important roles during the elimination rounds including a showdown during the finals at WPI. With the lack of four rotor matches since GSD, even a few KPA scored in a match has been the difference between winning, losing, or walking away with a tie. 2648 & 319 are heading up the Reading Fuel contingent with their large hoppers, wide over the bumper intakes, and wide shooters for accelerating several balls at a time into the boiler. Meanwhile 125 & 230 will be relying on their vision systems to launch steady streams of balls from further away while taking the field in Revere.
Regardless of how our teams this week receive their gears be it from the floor, human player slot, or both, some of our strongest are competing at one of the two events with more to emerge as teams continue to iterate. 5687 & 1058 paired up for a successful run at GSD against a formidable combination of 2084, 95, & 3958 in the finals boasting some of the only 4 rotor matches in the country. This weekend both alliances will find themselves split up with 5687, 95, & 3958 attending the Greater Boston event while 1058 & 2084 will be at the North Shore event. Looking to improve off of their previous events or appearing for the first time with more proven concepts expect to see 319, 133, 58, 155, 178, 4564, 238, 4909, 2067, 2876, 3205, 4761, 4055, 213, 1289, 5752, & 4169 playing a more refined gear game.
Going into this weekend four teams in New England have finished off their qualifying season with their two districts under their belts in the opening weeks of play. This weekend will see 38 teams joining them leaving 78.4% of the region left to make their mark on the district rankings.
North Shore Event, March 17-19
1058: Without a doubt, the PVC Pirates are the favorite to win the North Shore Event. After dominating the playoff bracket at GSD with multiple 4-rotor matches, 1058’s niche as a speedy ground-gear runner will ensure their status as a captain or high pick. They’re also looking to awaken their dual fuel shooters that lay dormant all of Granite State, adding to 1058’s arsenal of scoring mechanisms.
2084: Screaming out of the gate two weeks ago, Manchester-by-the-Sea’s own Robots by the C played a strong gear oriented game all weekend where they finished rank 2 at the Granite State event and lead their alliance through to the finals. A consistent 4-5 gears per match coupled with their climb put them in strong contention to find themselves in a similar spot going into Sunday.
133: The Bonny Eagle Robotics Team is flying into the STEAMworks season hot off some incredible performances in 2016. After a win at Pine Tree and two strong finalist appearances at the New England District Championship and the Carver Field, everyone should be wary of 133. Their combination of a single-wide fuel shooter, a passive gear mechanism and slow-but-steady climber should see them fill a multitude of roles on any alliance.
2648: One of the few New England teams that is trying to make fuel cool, Infinite Loop is back this weekend for another round of competitions. Their strong fuel-scoring abilities saw their #8 alliance topple a very strong #1 alliance at SE Mass and come extremely close to a berth in the finals. If 2648 can increase their fuel scoring by a small margin, they could reach the 40 kPa bonus and establish themselves as the premiere fuel shooter in New England.
4761: After a standout performance at SE Mass which resulted in them being the second overall pick, the hosts of the North Shore event are soaring in with strong momentum. Their simple gear mechanism coupled with their quick and reliable climb make them a very potent scoring machine, and if they utilize what looks to be a 3-wide fuel shooter to a greater extent, we would not be surprised to see this young team play a large role in the eliminations on Sunday.
4564: A small team from northern Maine, 4564 proved themselves as a top contender in New England last year after seeding first at the New England District Championship, and a semi-final run at the Championship. Boasting multiple autonomous gear and fuel scoring modes, and an auto gear scoring routine for teleop, this team is sure to wow in their first STEAMworks outing. A 3 ball wide shooter, fast velcro climber, and an H-drive to die for, this orange team is ready to bring the Chaos to Reading.
319: While they suffered from an early-out in the quarterfinals at Granite State, BOB has a lot of potential heading into North Shore. Their masterfully-designed machine, which features a wide shooter, large hopper, and ground-gear pickup, only needs some small tweaks to become a big point-scoring monster.
246: Overclocked surprised many with their minimalistic gear-scoring robot at WPI. While they could not climb, they proved their worth by speeding around and scoring many gears. With all of the open space on their robot, adding a quick climber would be well-within 246’s abilities and would greatly increase their competitiveness.
5459: In their third year, the Ipswich Tigers have stepped up their game with a simple yet capable design that showed promise at the Granite State District. With some tuning and practice they can be a solid gear scoring robot.
5735: In their third year as well, the Control Freaks have had a great start to their season. A very reliable gear scoring robot with camera-based alignment in autonomous, 5735 will be a great feature on any eliminations alliance.
4169: Part of the gear-oriented “41’s” alliance at SE Mass, Warrior Robotics showed that they can score enough gears and climbs to be a strong competitor at the North Shore competition. Their experience will also see them gain success over other competitors.
Chairman’s Top Teams:
2648: Taking home at least one banner every year since the birth of the New England District, there’s little this team’s program hasn’t done. Expect 2648 to be a top competitor for the Chairman’s award this weekend.
4761: After winning the Entrepreneurship Award at SE Mass and winning NEDCMP Chairman’s in 2016. Whether it be their business plan or their strength in outreach, 4761 is a role model for other FRC teams. FRC 4761 could take home the Chairman’s banner at North Shore.
Chairman’s Dark Horses:
1058: Winning a district Chairman’s Award in 2015 and 2016, the PVC Pirates continue to be a team others look up to.
3930: This Maine team has become a big contender for the CA award, winning Engineering Inspiration in 2015.
Special Rookie Shoutout to teams 6324 The Blue Devils, 6335 Terminal Velocity, 6617 BHS Black Hawk Robotics Club, and 6762 Hillcats.
Greater Boston Event, March 17-19, 2017
125: Back in Revere after a warm vacation in Southern Florida, the NUtrons are more than ready for the Greater Boston event. 125 has one of the most impressive turrets of the year, with the ability to fire fuel at well over fifteen balls/second, and a large hopper to keep their shooter busy. As powerful as their shooter is, they’re going to have to up their shooting accuracy and gear-scoring abilities if they want to turn their finalist appearance in South Florida into a blue banner at Greater Boston. We expect the NUtrons to boast a multitude of improvements to make their win a guarantee.
5687: When FRC competitors think of successful gear robots, they definitely think of 5687. At Granite State, the Outliers established themselves as THE gear-scoring outlier, seeding first and working with 1058 and 4908 to set the high score during Week One. Their speedy cycle times, quick climb, and small size make them any alliance’s dream partner, so expect them to be snatched up quickly when alliance selections roll around at Greater Boston.
95: Finishing as the finalists of the Granite State event, the Grasshoppers returned to their CAD station, hungry for the blue banner they almost nabbed early on. Scrapping their fuel intake system and shooter, 95 has decided to go all-in on gears. Their new floor intake for gears will see them greatly increase their scoring ability, and with two of New England’s top gear-scoring robots on one field, we may just see all four rotors spinning again. Expect this colorful robot to add some dark blue to its color scheme with a new blue banner.
2067: Apple Pi is back, and they’re swervin’ again. New England’s premiere swerve team, 2067 started strong at Waterbury by seeding second, but only made it into the semifinals. If they can improve their consistency with gears to match their agile base, fixed shooter, and reliable climb they have a shot at a successful run.
230: One if New England’s perpetual powerhouses, the Gaelhawks proved that they could do it all at Waterbury. If they can speed up their fuel scoring, they could be a high pick at Greater Boston.
3205: While they may not be the most well-known New England team, the Patriots are looking to make a name for themselves this year as one of the most consistent gear-scoring machines there is.
178: Although they were the last pick at Waterbury, the 2nd Law Enforcers definitely deserved their spot in the finals. This speedy gear-scoring machine is sure to be on someone’s eliminations alliance.
213: The Dirty Birds are making their first appearance of the season at Greater Boston, and they look ready to go. Their familiarity with mecanum drivetrains, as well as their wide intake and velcro climber, will serve them well as they fly through the competition.
Chairman’s Top Teams:
125: Winning the Chairman’s Award win every year since 2014, and a Regional Chairman’s win in 2015, Team 125 is outstanding in their outreach, sustainability, and being a great role model to teams across the world. Their “Ask an Engineer” and quick build helps numerous teams throughout New England. It would be no surprise to see them take home the blue banner.
230: After winning the New England Chairman’s Award last season, FRC Team 230 is an extremely strong contender for the Chairman’s Award at Greater Boston. With their STEM Night at their high school, mentoring many FRC & FLL teams, as well as volunteering at an FLL qualifier, the Gaelhawks could be the 2017 Greater Boston Chairman’s Award Winner.
Chairman’s Dark Horses:
2067: Winning 2014 NEDCMP Chairman’s and NEDCMP Engineering Inspiration in 2015, Apple Pi is a role model FRC team.
Special Rookie Shoutout to teams 6301 Nerointellect-sim Engineering & Robot Design Soiree N.E.R.D.S., 6367 The ElectroLights, 6529 Beantown Blitz, 6620 The Northmen, 6690 MV roboPride, and 6763 FUSION.