Mountain Man’s Summit: Week 6

You responded to my poll, and I listened. I apologize for not doing this earlier. Here’s the weekly recap!

Let’s Summit Up! Week 5

Idaho showed some much improved teams and some exciting eliminations matches. The Californian teams were out in full force, and one even seeded first. The Bay Orangutangs selected 2122 and 3006, creating a strong, fuel-centered alliance. There were some other very strong alliances, and the eliminations were intense the entire way through. The Robovikes from California teamed up with Skunkworks from Seattle, and Eagle Robotics from California teamed up with 3245 and 3239. The semis were insane, with very close matches between each alliance. 3230 nearly beat the Tators to get to the finals, but they couldn’t overcome the fuel bonus in the final match. On the other side, Eagle Robotics took it to three matches and with the help of a four rotor bonus secured their second finals appearance this season, the other being in Denver during Week 4. The finals were very close, and a failed climb by Birds of Prey in both finals matches gave the win to the number one seed. The Rookie All Star Award went to 6546, a team that also made the eliminations, and the Engineering Inspiration Award to 3562. The WarriorBorgs from California picked up the Chairman’s Award.

What’s Going On This Week?

Western Canada (Follow it here!):

The Western Canada Regional remains one of the most internationally representative competitions in the FRC. To give you an idea of the geographical spread of the teams attending, here’s a list of where all the teams hail from:

  • 22 Alberta teams
  • 11 British Columbia teams
  • 4 Saskatchewan teams
  • 3 Mexican teams
  • 3 Michigan teams
  • 2 Idaho teams
  • 1 Montana team
  • 1 Turkish team
  • 1 Australia team
  • 1 Chinese team
  • 1 Polish team
  • 1 Yukon team

The Biggest Teams to Watch:

4334 showed off a small but strong robot at Utah all the way back in Week 2. They may have been eliminated in the quarterfinals, but Alberta Tech Alliance is one of the top teams at this event. Their speedy robot can cross the field and place gears with ease, and they have a fast climb. They’ll be gunning for a ticket to the Championship, and they have what it takes to get there. It’s been four weeks since we last saw Alberta Tech, and they’ll likely come to Calgary with a much improved robot.

2122 showed off a much-improved robot in Boise last weekend, and went on to win the Idaho Regional. They played with a robot that was both 40 kPa capable and able to pick up gears from the floor. In Western Canada, the Tators have a chance at winning a second regional in a single year. Their autonomous mode was remarkably accurate in Boise, and further tuning could help them secure another blue banner.

Other Tips:

5897 had a rough time in Flagstaff, ranking 44th overall and missing out on eliminations. However, it was a smart move on their part to attend a second regional this year, as they have had time to improve their bot and come to Calgary with a chance of winning. These former Rookie All Stars will be looking to get back to the Championships, and they might just have what it takes to do it.

As the only FRC veteran from Montana, 3216 will be looking to represent their state well this weekend. They released some video of their gear autonomous, which looks promising. If the rest of their robot works just as well, they might go far in the eliminations.

When Alberta Tech captained an alliance in Utah, they selected a fellow Canadian team to help them. 4627 had a reliable climb and gear mechanism in Salt Lake City, and they’ll be gunning for the eliminations again this weekend. Manning’s season thus far has been a good one, and a strong performance in Calgary would make it even better.

Arizona West (Follow it here!):

This event has a strong lineup, including some of the Arizona powerhouses, a defending world champion, and some other very strong out of state teams.

The Biggest Teams to Watch:

2403 provided the largest scorch of an FRC event this year, with four teams declining their invitation at Utah. That really surprised me, as Plasma Robotics has built a capable machine this year that can put lots of points onto the board. Despite repeated rejection, Plasma made it to the semis of Utah before going out. Four weeks later, they have a good chance of seeding high in Phoenix and returning to the eliminations, with their desire being a ticket to Champs. Look for Plasma to run more gears, using their shooter a lot more, and performing at their best this weekend.

1726 has had a good start to their season after seeding seventh in San Francisco. A red card cost them their eliminations run, but the NERDS did much better there than in previous years. They’re a gear runner, and increasing their reliability will make them a very appealing pick or captain in Phoenix this weekend. Can the NERDS go all the way to the finals? We’ll see on Saturday.

As far as rookie teams go, 6314 has been stellar. Desert Mountain seeded fourth in Flagstaff and got to the semis before falling to the eventual finalist alliance. They also picked up the Rookie All Star Award, meaning their spot at the Championship is secure. Desert Mountain will be looking for a blue banner this weekend, and their previous performance suggests they have a strong chance.

Other Tips:

3944 missed the Championship last year, after an Einstein appearance the previous year. This will be the first time the All Knights unbalanced, and it’ll be fun to watch what they built. They’re good at building consistent and reliable robots, and depending on what they go for on the field they may be a good gear runner. Regardless, look for the All Knights to get back into the eliminations this weekend.

For the second straight year, 1492 captained an alliance in Flagstaff. Team CAUTION looks good this year, and they’ll need to replicate their success in Flagstaff at Phoenix if they want a chance of going far. It’s been a while since this team has been to the Championship, and they definitely have a shot to get there this weekend.

Las Vegas (Follow it here!):

Las Vegas will be a good preview of what to expect from the top tier in Houston. Some of the biggest names in the FRC will be attending, from California to Texas and everywhere in between. Some of the most prolific fuel bots will be doing battle in Vegas this weekend, and it will likely be the most competitive event this year. At an event as deep as this one, you can expect to see some very intense competition.

The Biggest Teams to Watch:

987 has had a successful start to their season, winning the Utah Regional back in Week 2 after some intense finals matches. They showed off a capable robot that performed well in nearly every aspect of the game, and in a high-powered event like Las Vegas they’ll need to be at their very best if they want to win. They weren’t the most prolific shooter or gear-runner in the world during Utah, but they’ve had a lot of time to improve. I’m willing to bet the Highrollers will show off an improved robot this weekend that will leave people shocked and remind the public why they’re one of the best in the world.

60 had a much better debut than last year; getting all the way to the finals of Arizona North and already securing a wildcard spot. Bionic Bulldogs also got to the finals of Las Vegas last year, and will be trying to get back into the eliminations this year. It’ll be tough, but the Bionic Bulldogs have the will to be able to be competitive at an elite event like this. Expect this team from Kingman to be on an alliance that goes deep into the playoffs on Saturday.

Another Hall of Fame team, 842, will be trekking up to Vegas again this year. They won with the Highrollers last year, and they’ve showed promise this year. They have built a robot that is both fuel and gear capable, and that’s a very appealing trait to many teams. If they can work on consistency and show they can put up a lot of points, Falcon Robotics might just win again.

Other Tips:

After barely missing out on the finals in Denver, 4499 signed up for Vegas in a last chance effort to qualify for the Championship. They improved significantly in Denver, showing off a floor gear pickup and seeding much higher than they did in Hub City. They won’t be on par with the elite in Vegas, but they might be the differencemaker for the winning alliance. They can shuttle gears quickly, and on the right alliance they’ll go far. And if all else fails, they’ll be pulling for an EI or Chairman’s win.

5429 performed pretty well in San Diego, even though they didn’t make the eliminations. But the Black Knights have had a while to improve their robot, and they’ll probably do better in Vegas this weekend. With a more consistent performance, they could find their way onto an alliance over the weekend.

That’s All, Folks!

This post concludes my predictions for the 2017 season. I will do one more post this year. It will be next week, in which we revisit my season predictions and I show off what the mountain region would look like if it were in districts. You, the reader, will also have the chance to vote in a Top 25 poll to determine what the best mountain teams of 2017 were. The results will be released just before the Houston Championship.

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