The Dexter High School Dreadbots FIRST Robotics Team 3656 would drive through flames on their quest to reach the 2016 FIRST Robotics Championship…and that’s exactly what they did.
After qualifying for States by being a Finalist at Kettering University and a Quarter-Finalist at the Lakeview District Event, the Dreadbots were ranked 48 out of 411 in the state. High hopes for a good finish at the State Championship and advancement to the FRC World Championship went up in smoke as the Dreadbot VI literally burst into flames following its third qualifying match Thursday afternoon.
Stunned, the team watched as officials snuffed out the flames with a fire extinguisher. The damage to the electronic components was extensive but no one was injured. The Dreadbots were undaunted. “’Tis but a scratch!” commented one team member.
It’s believed that the fire was caused by electrical fault which resulted in changing some wiring and insulation, according to team Coach Lori Sprague.
The electrical team, led by Junior Sierra Lindskov, leapt into action assessing the damage and procuring replacement parts. With a unified effort of the entire Dreadbot team and many generous FIRST volunteers, the Dreadbot rose from the ashes in just three hours.
Friday morning the Dreadbots took the field again, having missed but one qualifying match. Having fallen as low as 100/102 in the tournament standings, the Dreadbots managed to finish at #87.
Despite the devastation wreaked by the flames, the Dreadbots fine record going into the state tournament was enough to qualify the team for the FRC Championship.
In addition to qualification points earned on the field, the Dreadbots were the recipients of the Rockwell Automation “Innovation in Controls” Award at each of their district events.
Judges at Kettering cited the Dreadbots’ binocular vision system and those at Lakeview were impressed by the unique “Sucker Punch” pneumatic manipulator.
The Dreadbots also received a Judges’ Award at the State Championship.
“The Judges Award: During the course of the competition, the judging panel encounters teams whose unique efforts, performance, or dynamics merit recognition yet do not fit into any of the existing award categories. Today, the judges have defined the following special award as a Judges’ Award for one such deserving team.
When difficult times arrive, DREAD theeeee NOT.
This team did not FLAME out, when put on the spot.
Not unlike a ghost and rising from the embers.
This will be the team everyone remembers.
Congratulations: Team 3656 –The Dreadbots.”
When all the awards were taken into account, the Dreadbots finished 59th in the state of Michigan, comfortably qualifying for the FRC Championship in St. Louis April 27 through 30.
The Dreadbots are fundraising for our $6,000 team registration at the FRC Championship.
“Our state grant will not cover any of that this year,” Sprague said. “In addition, we burned up all the really expensive parts of our robot in the fire so we need to replenish our stock of spares.”
More information on how to support the Dreadbots via GoFundMe or personal check can be found at http://dexterdreadbots.org/.
Thank you to Lori Sprague for the information contained in this article.