Team 1717, comprised of high school seniors, beat out dozens of other teams with their robot. The seniors had been waiting four years to compete. Phillip Downey said, "It was absolutely out of this world for us."
The road to the finals wasn't smooth. A stunning upset during the qualifying rounds made Team 1717 a little nervous. "It was not a strong start. But, we were able to come back from it," Downey said.
The outcome was decided in a best-of-three match-up in the finals. Downey said, "The first match we were able to win, despite some trouble with our drive system. The second match didn't go as well for us. We fell behind and we lost it due to a number of different factors."
With the help of their alliance teams, the D'Penguineers came out on top after the third match. "We were waiting even after the final score to see if there were would be any penalties called and there weren't which was incredible for us," Downey said.
After a quick celebration, some of the students were back at school the very next day working on building a practice robot. The robot used in the competition, called Penguin-Bot 9, is now wrapped in plastic and sequestered. Students can't touch it until the next competition. The students will make any necessary modifications or improvements to the practice robot first. They'll only have about eight hours to transfer those adjustments Penguin-Bot 9 at the next competition.
Team 1717 heads to the Las Vegas Regional on April 4 to defend another title. Saturday's win in Long Beach earned them a spot at the FIRST Robotics World Championships in St. Louis on April 24th.