The 2013 FRC game was Ultimate Assent. This year, the robots were supposed to be able to pick up Frisbees and shoot them into 3 different levels of goals. More points were awarded for higher goals then lower goals. The field also had two big jungle gym pyramids with a goal on top that a robot could climb and score on for extra points. During the Endgame portion of the game, robots could attempt to climb this pyramid for additional points, and human players were given the opportunity to attempt to throw remaining frisbees across the field and into the high goals.
Our robot this year was named Frobo Bag&Tag, a play on words combining Frisbees, Bag & Tag (Known to many as Stop Build Day), and Lord of the Rings Hobbit Frodo Baggins. The Robot was designed with a linear, pneumatic operated shooter as well as a plunger-style pickup mechanism. However, this pickup mechanism did not remain intact throughout the season, as our primary pneumatic piston for the system was bent twice during competitions. Playing on a joke from this year's reveal video, a purple tennis racket was also attached to the robot - referring to the animated robot that picked frisbees up with a plunger and hit them with a similar racket. You can watch our robot reveal video here
Plasma performed very well this year. Our first and only planned competition of the season was the Phoenix Regional. We did well at this regional, ranking 11th with a record of 7-6-0. We were chosen by Out of Orbit Robotics (2449) along with the Firebirds (3019) to make up the 6th-Seed Alliance. We did well in our first match of the quarter finals, but unfortunately our alliance partner knocked an opponent robot off of the tower, causing us to loose all of our points for that match. We won the next match, but were barely beat out by a single point (lost 84-83) in tie breaker match Quarter-Finals 4, Match 3. We went on to win the Innovation and Control Award, but unfortunately did not qualify for the World Championships like we had hoped.
However, team members were not ready to end their season at this point. Anxious to use their robot even one last time in competition, and for another chance to qualify for the World Championships, several members scrambled for a way to attend another regional. After contacting FIRST, it was discovered that Plasma could attend the Las Vegas regional, but that money would be due at the beginning of the following week. Team members saw little hope in raising the money for the regional in less then a week, but their miracle came when senior team member Garret Thompson sold his truck to help pay for registration fees. However, the team did not have the time to receive proper District Approval for the event, and so team members ditched school to attend. Coach Brent Kellis did not attend the event until Saturday after getting out of school.
At the Las Vegas Regional, Plasma Robotics saw immense success, making their sacrifices worth their money. After the Qualification Matches, Plasma was ranked 3rd with a record of 13-4-0. As the Second-Seed Alliance Captains, we invited the High Rollers (987) and the Wolverines (597) to join our alliance. Our alliance won all four of it's Quarterfinal and Semi-Final matches, placing us in the Finals against the First-Seed Alliance made up of the D'Penguineers (1717), the Ravens (3245), and the Surf City Vikings (4276). Unfortunately, Plasma lost both of these matches, although only by about 20 points each. However, Plasma did win the Engineering Inspiration Award and received a Wildcard (since 1717 had already qualified), thus qualifying them for the 2013 World Championships. The last to leave after the exciting regional, team members all signed an Ultimate Ascent Frisbee given to them by event staff and retrieved the forgotten number card of alliance member Wolverines (597), both which remain in the possession of then-eighth-grader Evin Harris as of the 2017 Season.
This was an exciting time for Plasma Team members. After coming back from the brink of lost-hope, we had qualified for the largest Robotics tournament in the world. Team members hastily rebuilt their shipping crate and prepared their robot for the long journey from Mesa, AZ to St. Louis, Missouri.
At World Championships, Plasma performed well. While not making it to Galileo division playoffs, Plasma Robotics ranked 35th out of 100 teams, with a record of 5-3-0. Team members enjoyed the opportunity to meet and great with other teams from around the world, including those from AZ who had made the journey with them. For all of those who attended, World Championships 2013 truly was an unforgettable event.
2013 and Ultimate Ascent truly were a season unlike no other for Plasma Robotics.