On Saturday, February 18th, while most students at Parker were vacationing, Francis W. Parker’s high school robotics team, 3507 Robotheosis, competed in the Chicago League Championship. The team entered the Championship ranked second among 34 teams in the Chicago League. The team was very excited and quite confident in their robot’s ability to succeed due to their 11-3-1 record from the past three Chicago League events.
In the preliminary rounds the team won three matches and lost two. Both losses were due to penalties award against the alliance that Parker was part of. However, due to the strong showing of Parker’s robot all season, during the playoff matches, the first seeded team (FTC Team 116 “Crazy Eights”) chose Robotheosis to be their alliance partner. The alliance won their first semifinal match against the fourth seeded alliance. In the second match, Robotheosis was having a strong game making shot after shot. During the final seconds of the match as the team went to “Cap” the string on their lift broke and they dropped the “Cap Ball”. The un-scored “Cap Ball” which was worth 40 points would have won the alliance the match, but sadly the alliance received zero due to the faulty string. Finally, for the third match the team fixed their string and was ready to win, but unfortunately as the match started, the robot had a battery issue and disconnected. This meant that the alliance was not able to move onto the final rounds.
Despite not being able to move onto the finals, the team’s winning was not over yet. During the awards ceremony the team was a runner up for numerous awards which showed the wide range of capabilities of the team. This wide range of talent and proficiency is exactly what the judges look for in an All-Round Champion and so awarded Parker the Inspire Award, which is the highest award given at the event. Here is what the Tournament Judges had to say about the Inspire Award, “The Inspire Award is the highest award given by FTC. The winner of the Inspire Award is automatically eligible for advancement to the Illinois State Tournament. The Inspire Award winner is the 'prototype' for what we'd like to see all teams achieve as part of the FIRST Tech Challenge. They do many of the things mentioned in the other awards. The difference is that they've tied these together in a comprehensive manner resulting in success in the competition, outreach to the community, robot design, team spirit, and engineering accomplishment.” The Judges then had to say this about 3507 Robotheosis specifically, “The Inspire award winner needs to excel in all areas and display unparalleled cooperation. This team can be found amongst all walks of life, from anteaters to zebras. Their team moves forward, while their robot goes backwards, shoots backwards that is! The Inspire Award winner is team 3507 Robotheosis” This is the first time the Parker robotics team has won the Inspire Award outright, the team has been an Inspire Award finalist in the past. The team was very excited about winning the award and is optimistic about what will happen this weekend at the Illinois State Tournament at Elgin Community College, 1700 Spartan Dr, Elgin, IL.