Iron Eagles Advance to Regional Tournament
St. Dominic Savio’s “Iron Eagles” Robotics Program competed in their final Qualifying Tournament on Saturday, January 31, and successfully advanced all four teams to the Alamo Regional Tournament!
After an outstanding season last year that culminated in sending both of our teams (“Optimus” and “Prime”) to the World Championship in St. Louis, the Iron Eagles program expanded to include almost 40 students, which resulted in the formation of two new rookie teams – “Guardian” and “Silverbolt.”
Even though our program doubled in size, our primary goal remained – for all of our Iron Eagles teams to advance to the Regional Tournament. On December 6, both “Prime” and “Silverbolt” competed in the first qualifier, and even though Prime advanced to the tournament finals, and Silverbolt advanced to the semifinals and won a team award (the Control Award), neither team earned one of the coveted eight advancement spots.
At the second qualifier on January 17, “Optimus” and “Guardian” both put in outstanding performances, with Guardian coming just short of being ranked #1 at the end of qualifying rounds. As our oldest team, Optimus continued their tradition of excellence by advancing to the tournament finals and winning a major design award (the Rockwell-Collins Innovate Award), thus becoming the first Iron Eagles team to punch their ticket to the Regional Tournament. But unfortunately, despite their strong performance, Guardian fell in the semifinals and failed to advance.
So last Saturday’s tournament was the first opportunity for all of the Iron Eagles to compete at the same tournament, and the last opportunity for our remaining 3 teams to advance. Held at Connally High School, this “double qualifier” was a very large tournament, placing 48 teams from Central Texas into two divisions – Lovelace and Tesla – with only 8 total advancement slots available per division.
In the Tesla division, team Optimus continued their winning tradition by finishing as the 3rd seed after qualifying rounds, joining one of the other top seeds in an alliance for the elimination rounds. Team Guardian finished 5th and acted as the captain of one elimination round alliances. For the second straight tournament, Optimus advanced to the finals and Guardian fell in the semifinals, which put their fate in the hands of the award judges. However, both teams ended up winning a major design award, and Guardian became our second team to advance to the Regional Tournament!
In the Lovelace division, the competition was very tough; Silverbolt played well and had a chance to earn the number one seed in their final match, but they lost by just two points – to their sister team Prime! But both teams ended up being selected for the elimination rounds, with Silverbolt’s alliance eventually falling in the semifinals and Prime advancing to the finals to earn one of the automatic berths to the Regional Tournament. So like Guardian, Silverbolt had to wait to see if they would advance through one of the awards – and at the end of a long day, they were thrilled to earn the same award that Guardian had just won in their division!
Team Prime proved to be no slouch in the awards either, winning the prestigious Think Award and placing second for the top award of the tournament – the Inspire Award.
So at the mid-point of the season, all four teams have won multiple honors at the three qualifying tournaments:
- Optimus – Rockwell-Collins Innovate Award, PTC Design Award, two-time finalist
- Prime - Think Award, 2nd place Inspire Award, two-time finalist
- Guardian - Rockwell-Collins Innovate Award, two-time semifinalist
- Silverbolt – Control Award, Rockwell-Collins Innovate Award, two-time semifinalist
The Iron Eagles are already working hard to improve their robots for the Alamo Regional tournament, which will be held in San Antonio on Feb. 20-21. Thanks to all our team parents, faculty, and staff at Savio for all your support as we fight to bring home the championship!