Midwest Regional Semifinalists and Gracious Professionalism Winner!

Yesterday was an amazing day for Huskie Robotics, FIRST Team 3061, at the Midwest Regional Competition! We finished the qualification matches with a 9-2 record and ranked 10th! During the alliance selection process where the top teams choose their alliance partners for the elimination matches, we ended up as the captain of the 7th alliance! Thanks to our scouting reports, we were able to make wise decisions and select teams that were under-ranked and overlooked by others. Teams 1710 (Ravonics Revolution) and 1781 (Electric Eagles) graciously accepted our invitation to join our alliance.

As the 7th ranked alliance, we met the #2 ranked alliance, consisting of teams 1625 (Winnovation), 2949 (Pwnage), and 3135 (Robotic Colonels). in the quarterfinals. We won the first match 42-36 and won the second match 38-37 to advance to the semifinals! Both matches were won in the final seconds with all alliance members contributing to the victory.

We met the #3 seed of teams 111 (Wildstang), 71 (Team Hammond), 2151 (Monty Pythons). We lost the first match 35-53. It was actually very close as our alliance almost completed a 20-point double bridge balance in the final seconds. Our alliance had some bad luck in our next match as both our alliance partners had mechanical issues which disabled their robots from driving. We made the best of the situation, scored several baskets during the teleoperated phase, and balanced on the bridge on our own. We ended up losing 38-44. We held our own against some of the most veteran teams in all of FRC as Wildstang has won three national championships and Team Hammond has won four!

While competing as a semifinalist is the most success we have ever had at a regional competition, the team had more accolades coming our way. During the final awards ceremony, Huskie Robotics was awarded the Gracious Professionalism award for outstanding assistance to other teams both on and off the field. FIRST describes Gracious Professionalism as:

Gracious Professionalism is part of the ethos of FIRST. It’s a way of doing things that encourages high-quality work, emphasizes the value of others, and respects individuals and the community.

With Gracious Professionalism, fierce competition and mutual gain are not separate notions. Gracious professionals learn and compete like crazy, but treat one another with respect and kindness in the process. They avoid treating anyone like losers. No chest thumping tough talk, but no sticky-sweet platitudes either. Knowledge, competition, and empathy are comfortably blended.

In the long run, Gracious Professionalism is part of pursuing a meaningful life. One can add to society and enjoy the satisfaction of knowing one has acted with integrity and sensitivity.

We helped several teams by giving them parts and materials and by helping them program their robot. Several team members spent most of the competition assisting a particular rookie team who only had one teacher and one student present. We helped this team rewire their robot, get their ball collector and shooter to be functional, pass inspection, and write all their software. In addition, two members of our team stepped in as field players for this team! Their efforts did not go unnoticed and the judges commented that “while you usually want at St. Bernard to come and rescue you, they would prefer a Huskie!”

We made a lasting impression at the Midwest Regional. I heard directly and indirectly from several teams and volunteers that expressed disbelief in what an incredible improvement we had made since last season. Not only were teams impressed with our capabilities and attitude of gracious professionalism, they emulated our strategy as well. By the end of the competition, several teams had adopted our “drive to the fender” strategy for autonomous. One team even started shooting the high-percentage “slam dunk” two-point baskets during the elimination matches! Everyone will be keeping their eye on Huskie Robotics next year.