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Seven Rivers Day One: Load In & Practice Matches

Day one is always an interesting day for our team. We have to load into our pit, learn the venue layout, figure out where meetings are, practice on the practice field, and more!

This morning, the team gathered in front of the La Crosse Center to wait for the doors to open. It was around 8:00am when we met with another half of our team. The doors opened at 8:30am and all of the early bird teams filed in, with some mentors getting signed in and the rest of their teams finding seats in the bleachers. We picked out a good spot to sit, where we would also be able to film the matches without issues.

The pit setup was fairly quick Wednesday afternoon, which was technically yesterday. They had a really nice queue area to unload at. We got everything out of the trailer and into our designated pit square, and after the trailer was parked where it needed to be we began setting up the pit. The corner cabinets for up first, then every other cabinet gets placed properly following that. The setup was pretty smooth since there is a lot of space in the pit area. Unfortunately, there was some kind of short or electrical malfunction somewhere in the venue that caused a lot of lights to go off and it left us without power for the night. Luckily though, the power was back in working order for practice matches today.

What always follows dropping all of our belongings off in the bleachers is running down to the pit to do our checks. We made sure we had power for everything, and that all of our tools and batteries were working or charged. Everything was all good! Drive team prepared for their meeting at 9:00am, the safety captains prepared for their meeting at 10:00am, and the rest of the team worked on the robot or on projects in the pit while the last members of our team trickled in.

The practice matches started at 12:00pm right before we ate lunch. The drive team did incredible in this first match! We had several double cargo in the upper hub, and a couple cargo into the lower hub. The robot, Spud, was performing incredibly, allowing everyone to have a short break after some pretty extensive mechanical issues in Peoria a couple weeks ago. Lunch came and went as the team worked on Spud. There seemed to be a few issues with the auto aiming mechanisms, so the drive team worked on the practice field for a while. They tested the auto aim on the practice field to make sure it was working properly and to make sure they had a good technique down.

Our two safety captains went on a scouting journey while picking up buttons and team swag. They collected general information from teams about their plans for matches; whether they climb or not, how many cargo they can shoot, their autonomous plans, etc. They got a good amount of teams recorded, but ended up skipping over a few teams because there was a lot of crowding around the pits in some areas. They did, however, collect some really cool swag.

Towards the end of the day, the team decided to do as many practice matches as we possibly could. The end number of matches we played was six, and they all went well up until the last match. A bearing on one of our NEOS motors wasn't working right, resulting in our shooter not shooting cargo properly. It would pick up the cargo well, but when the drive team went to shoot it wouldn't make it far off the ground. After this disappointing match, we went back to find and attempt to fix the problem. Eventually we discovered that we didn't have the extra parts needed to fix the bearing. Luckily, Stateline Robotics came in clutch with the exact part we needed to make the repairs to this motor. We also want to take a second to say a HUGE thank you to Stateline for helping us here in La Crosse, as well as when we went to CIR in Peoria. You guys are awesome!

As soon as the practice matches ended we found ourselves getting ready to leave. It was late enough that we were all exhausted, mostly because half of us had to get up at 3am to make the 4hr drive up. The last fixes were made to Spud, and we packed up to leave. One of our parents made some chili for the team for dinner. We sat and relaxed for a bit, talked to another team who is staying at the same hotel as us, explored the hotel a little, and talked about the plans for tomorrow. We have some pretty awesome and big plans for this competition and we are looking forward to seeing how everything goes!

Thank you to our sponsors, supporters, family and friends for supporting our small team through this competition season!


Written By:


Marketing & Media sub-team

Rockford Robotics 2039



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