On July 31st and August 1st 2021, 35 teams ranging from New York to Maine gathered at Worcester Polytechnic Institute for Battlecry 21. This event was the first of its kind in New England after 510 days due to the COVID-19 pandemic. NE FIRST interviewed Day 1 Alliance 2 Pick and Day 2 Winner, FRC-5813 Morpheus, to talk about their experience at the event.
What’s your Team Name & Number? Where are you from?
We are FRC Team 5813 Morpheus from Concord, New Hampshire. 5813 is a neighborhood team that is not affiliated with any school and is open to students from all across New Hampshire.
How has your team competed during this season? What precautions has Morpheus done to work in order to be safe at competitions and meetings?
During the 2021 season, the team decided to just compete in the Infinite Recharge at Home challenges. We initially met online for design meetings. We do a lot of CAD, so were more easily able to pivot this portion online. We later moved into small, in-person meetings for manufacturing and assembly of our at-home robot. At meetings, we had hand sanitizer available and wore masks. We also limited attendance for each day and broke the meetings up into several sessions so that more people could attend but at different times. Once we completed our robot, we had some trouble finding a place to practice and record our submissions. We are extremely thankful to Team 138 for generously offering their practice space to us so we could complete the at-home challenges. We competed in the Scandium Group for the skills challenges and ranked third overall. Both during and after the official season, we participated in the BAE Systems Minibot challenges and worked on improving our 2020 robot for potential 2021 offseason events.
What makes the Battlecry so unique? How did your team do?
BattleCry is unique for a few reasons. This year it was the first off-season in New England. It is usually also one of the only multiday events, though this year they opted for 2 one-day events due to Covid, and is the largest off-season in the district, with 60 teams usually in attendance. It is also unique in the fact that it has District-Championship-level play. Every team takes BattleCry seriously, and it really shows. The level of competition at BattleCry is usually higher than any other New England offseason. The addition of a practice day this year is also quite unique – it gave us time to get in some practice and make sure everything was ready for the weekend’s events. On Day 1, we were still getting in the groove and ended up ranking ninth. We were thrilled to be selected to join our good friends from Team 131 on alliance 2 going into the round robin. To round out our alliance, we selected Team 2067 and Team 3461. Our alliance ended up placing fifth in the round robin, but we had a great time working with our partners. On Day 2, we went undefeated and seeded first. Alongside Team 88 and Team 125 we achieved the first third-stage activation in New England! For the elimination rounds, we selected our friends on Team 88, Team 3623, and Team 4176. Together with our alliance, we won all five round robin matches and both finals matches to win the tournament!
What are your first thoughts and feelings about returning to an in-person event this season?
Although the at-home challenges were a lot of fun, nothing can compare to the excitement and energy of an in-person FRC competition. We were thrilled to finally get the chance to attend an in-person event for Infinite Recharge. Infinite recharge is an incredibly fun game, and it’s hard to beat the real time play and instantaneous strategy decisions which make FIRST so special. It was fantastic to get to see everyone again and learn from them and their robots. We hope there will be other in-person events in New England going forward!
Do you have any advice to any team, new or old, who might be reading this?
When designing, try to build within your team’s limits. When looking for inspiration for mechanisms and robot architectures, having a robust knowledge of FRC robot and game history can be invaluable. For example, the climbing challenge in 2020 has some similarities to the climbing challenges in 2018, 2016, 2013, and 2010. Investigating effective robots and mechanisms for these challenges could give a big head-start for designing a 2020 climbing mechanism. If you attend an in-person event, make sure you talk to and become friends with the teams nearby your pit as well as the teams that inspire you. You can learn a ton from talking to other teams.
The team here at New England FIRST would love to thank the WPI and Battlecry team for making this event all possible! Watch the action again on their official YouTube Page!