Over 60 high school robotics teams from across New England travelled to Worcester, Massachusetts this past weekend, April 9-11, to compete in the New England District Championship, held at WPI. Southington’s CyberKnights were among those competing, and proved their success to the world once again. With 3 hard-fought wins in their season already, including 2 first-place finishes and the prestigious Chairman’s Award, the Knights were hoping for another impressive showing in their penultimate competition.
The CyberKnights, also known as team 195, went into this event with their sights set on gold, and their determination for a win showed in all 12 of their qualification matches. Retaining a top 2 rank for the entirety of the qualifying rounds, Southington effectively proved their offensive prowess to every team in attendance. After breaking their record for the highest score in New England throughout their 12 matches, the CyberKnights knew exactly what they were capable of heading into the playoff rounds Saturday afternoon. These playoff rounds, wherein the 63 teams competing were narrowed down to the top 8, who then select 2 other teams to join their alliance, saw an unprecedented level of competition.
Southington was selected by the #1 seed, team 1519, Mechanical Mayhem from Millford, New Hampshire, to compete with them in the playoffs. This combination of the top 2 teams in New England worried many of the other teams selected for the playoffs, and rightfully so. Joined by team 2067, Apple Pi from Guilford, Connecticut, the #1 alliance roared into the quarterfinals with an astoundingly high average score of 208. After the quarterfinals, in which 4 alliances were eliminated, the Knights and their partners saw no trouble getting through their next 3 semifinal matches. Putting up 3 extremely impressive scores of 233, 230, and 225, the Knights took the field for their 3rd finals appearance of the season. Played in a best 2 out of 3 format, the finals were over before they started. Southington’s alliance won the first match with a score of 239, and shattered their high score in match 2 with an incredible 256 points, one of the highest in the country overall, and for a brief period of time, the highest seen in any district competition in 2015.
195’s accomplishments don’t stop there, however. After being crowned 2015 New England District Champions, the team was also awarded 1 of 4 Chairman’s Awards available at the competition. This award, given to teams who best embody the mission of robotics and set a precedent for other teams to follow, is the most prestigious and highly regarded award given at events. By winning Chairman’s at the regional level this past weekend, the Knights are able to compete for it at the World Championship competition being held in St. Louis later this month.
With four events under their belt thus far, the CyberKnights have truly had one of their most successful seasons in the team’s 16 year history. Bringing home 5 major wins before the World Championships take place is an incredibly difficult feat to achieve, yet one that is inherently well deserved. For the fifth year in a row, Southington will be travelling to St. Louis to compete in the World Championship on April 22-25. This competition will see 600 of the best teams from across the globe gather to find out who will be crowned the 2015 World Champions. 195 has made it clear that their powerhouse style of play will not hesitate to move beyond New England territory.