What a season, just wow!
We’ve had so many great experiences this year that we don’t even exactly know how to put them to words, but we will try to let you get a taste of just how awesome and unexpected this season was.
Let’s take a trip down memory lane and elaborate on this season’s achievements just once more.
Enjoy this blog about our incredible journey and achievements of the 2019 Destination: Deep Space season.
As you can expect, we were present at the Dutch Technology Week where we’ve ignited many young bright minds with the power and fun of STEAM! We’ve been part of the Hightech Helmond – De Peel ontdekkingsroute for many years now, and a big thanks to FRANKE for hosting this year’s edition.
As an additional cherry on our season’s pie, we were surprised by MTA and AAE with an overwhelming appreciation for winning the world championship accompanied with a gift. A sweet looking World Championship Winner banner, they’ll look nice at our building facilities!
But that’s not the only gift we received after we came back from Detroit a few weeks back. We were interviewed by many of our sponsors about the trip and received a lot of compliments. We were even congratulated formally by the major of Veghel, the director of the Department of Engineering of Fontys University and even by the ‘college van bestuur’ of Fontys Hogescholen. But let’s not get ahead of time and take you back through the incredible journey that has lead us to where we are today.
Our trip to Detroit started on the 20th of April and we were headed for the world championship, hoping to achieve some great things and remain steady like the rest of the season’s competition. Little did we know 😉
Once we arrived in Detroit we explored the city for a bit and helped as volunteers to set up all 6 division fields. We were accompanied by two employees of MTA and they surprised us with a great gift! They had arranged a wonderful dinner in the evening. During this dinner they had shawls made especially for us, so we would be able to cheer our hardest. How amazing is that!
Once we had our spirit locked and loaded, we were definitely ready for the competition to begin. We played steady matches and showed everybody what we were capable of in the heat of competition. And with success, because after 114 Qualification matches in our division we were picked by the second alliance during the alliance selection, teaming us up with team 3707 – Brighton
TechnoDogs, team 217 – ThunderChickens and team 1218 – SCH Vulcan Robotics!
This was only the second time in our team’s history that we make it to the quarterfinals and we couldn’t have been prouder of that achievement.
On top of that, we received the Quality Award sponsored by Motorola Solutions Foundation of the combined Curie and Darwin division, taking the prize as one of the 136 teams in the running!
And then came division playoffs, in which we competed for a spot in the finals against our dear friends’ team 125 – NUTRONs. And of course, you’ve all seen it, but for the element of surprise in this piece of text, guess what?
We won the Darwin division and for the first time in our history, we made it to the Einstein division! We were one of the 6 alliances that made it to the final rounds of the championship and believe us, we have no words to describe how intense that felt.
When moving through to the Einstein division, you get to compete against all other 5 alliances just once in what’s called Round Robin. The goal is simple. Be one of the 2 best alliances and move to Ford Field to play the finals and become the world champion. But that’s, of course, easier said than done and the competition was brutal, but so were we!
With no hopes or doubts, we were determined to play our best until the very last second of every single match to try to be one of the top two alliances. And yet again, after some intense matches and close calls, we made it, we were going to play on Einstein’s Ford Field and had an actual shot at writing history and becoming the first European World champion in the history of FIRST Robotics Competition. And how we fought!
The first final match was won by the opposing alliance from the Archimedes division, meaning that only one more win would mean that we had just not made it. But just after the scores were revealed, our whole alliance was yelling “We are not done yet!” We won the second match by a close call and the championship title would thus be played for in only 250 more exciting but terrifying seconds. We gave it all we got and knew we couldn’t have done a better job, being already insanely proud of all we had achieved thus far. We were awaiting the final verdict, the score on the screen in that stadium, waiting to see which rocket would lift off first and who had taken the title for Destination: Deep Space 2019.
After waiting anxiously, we saw the animation come on screen and for a moment there, our hearts stopped beating and it really felt like time stood still. You could all have known and guessed by now that the blue alliance rocket went up, which was our alliance. Winning the championships with a mere difference of 1 point in the total score, we came, we saw, and we won!
Of course, words can still not describe well enough how intense that moment was for us right there, but also for our team members that we’re anxiously watching from home at 2:30 AM and all of our parents, family, friends, and supporters that had stayed up all night to cheer us on and keep up the spirit. But we sure hope this piece has given you a little insight in what we must have felt, and still feel because even after a few weeks it still feels so incredibly unreal to have that blue banner to show for our accomplishment.
All the preparation we took in the build-season, starting with the kick-off, everything we did to prepare ourselves for the regionals in Los Angeles and San Diego, taking home 3 awards and two spots in the semi-finals as alliance captain. Nothing of that would have mattered in getting us to the finals if not for our partners and supporters to help us out in any way possible throughout the
season. From the mom’s that cooked us all dinner at the building location, so we could work through the night, to the suppliers of materials for our robot, the greatest shout out ever to you all! You are all champions!
And with this, we would like to end this seasonal recap blog post with great appreciation and respect, but most of all pride in what we have achieved this season and in being able to take part in this unbelievably strong community.
We hope you will tune back in next season for our 2020 Infinity Recharge season, sponsored by Star Wars: Force for Change.
See you in a while!