Things that happend to us at Heartland Regionals

Hi everyone! Our team 5069X, just competed in the Heartland Regional tournament for the Nebraska/Iowa regionals. To start, I am very confused about the results of the design award as I am quite sure that our notebook had met every requirement in the rubric, and we had a very professional design process. Ours had schedules, game descriptions, amazing sketches, and even the multiple iterations of our past robots have been cadded each with instruction books inside for each, screen for screw, nut for nut. Every single design choice we had made was backed by a decision chart with each other design that could have been chosen but justified for why not. Our presentation was planned out to describe our process to a maximum as well. After the tournament had ended, they refused to give out the rubrics no matter what. I do not see why they wouldn’t have given the rubrics to at the least see where we lacked compared to the other team. Does anyone have an explanation for why? I have a strong feeling something really fishy went on. Second of all, we had kept our robot overnight at the event venue and the next day we had serious problems with our rd4b. About halfway through the tournament, we discovered that our rd4b’s right side’s motor wires had gotten cut cleanly. I do not know which team would have done such a thing such unsportsmanlike such as this. The referees did not exactly care or mind about this incident whatsoever. Was there something I should have done about this situation at all?

They are not required to hand back rubrics for your 2nd issue with the refs it is not their responsibility to know what is going on and if your robot is not working the refs job is to watch for infractions in matches and to keep matches running in a timely matter. You should have brought your issue to the Event Partner

Sorry to hear that your robot got sabotaged, they really should have better security at these types of events. As for the notebook i’m not sure why they refuse to hand out rubrics, that being said in our region they usually don’t do them either so that’s not so odd. If you have the budget maybe consider getting a robot box and lock.

Here’s a point about the rubric (and why it wouldn’t tell you what you’re looking for, even if they were returned): At major competitions (including states and worlds), the top engineering notebooks will all have the same rubric score, perfect +/- maybe a point. At worlds, where only the top teams are interviewed for design, the rubric “gets you the interview.” Since all the top rubrics end up having the same near-perfect score, then final decisions are all based on close (non-rubric) analysis and one-on-one comparisons of the notebook and especially on the interview.

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As stated before, many teams will end up having the same rubric score. That won’t be indicative of what you’re lacking. Furthermore, judges are not supposed to hand rubrics back; they’re considered confidential judging documents.

As for the wires, the Event Partner is a better one to take that issue up with.

judging rubric

The rubrics are not to be sent back to the teams as seen at the bottom of the page. Like Noah said you should have brought the issue to the EP, since refs are only watching matches. When I competed we would never leave our robot unattended and if you do you should probably lock it up. Sucks that you had a bad experience.

A few things that you did not list about your notebook that could be added are programming code, summaries of tournaments (what went well and what to improve), and maybe some match strategies (ex. we go mid cones first then outside ones and finish off with loader).

Thanks. Regarding our notebook, they announced that the winning team had “absolutely beautiful wiring” and that was the only thing we know for sure. We also know they haven’t won one before as well.

We had those as well, as well as any code flow-charts that we did. Anything and everything that had happened this year was included and decided upon using the design process.

Why is there a rule that rubrics not be handed to teams and destroyed right after winning team decided? This makes it so there is no justification for the winning team and what teams should do to improve their process for the future. This is probably one of the most useless rules in vex.

There was a long discussion of this at the beginning of the year. They basically don’t want to subject themselves to the anger of teams, among other reasons.

Not necessarily. You’re not going to get much information from the rubrics. Plus, it’s not just the engineering notebook. The judges also consider your interview.

Next season, have some of your team parents serve as judges. That way you can get an idea of what goes on in the judging room. I’m sure you had a great engineering notebook - but you weren’t the only one. It is a tough job to be a judge and only able to pick one.

Not as bad as being told at States that you would get the Design award(Worlds qualifying) if you had a notebook.

Can you send the thread link for this? Having to not face the anger of the teams is a very nonsensical excuse. They cannot make seem objective based and in the end have it subjective and up to the judges for something so huge at stake. That can make it an overly biased decision, which is the opposite point they were trying to go with.

I’m not sure how you can say that overly biased decisions were made if you were not in the judge’s room and didn’t see your competitor’s engineering notebooks. I’ve judged quite a few times and have never seen an overly biased decision.

“About halfway through the tournament, we discovered that our rd4b’s right side’s motor wires had gotten cut cleanly. I do not know which team would have done such a thing such unsportsmanlike such as this. The referees did not exactly care or mind about this incident whatsoever”

As one of the head referees at that tournament, the issue with the wires was never brought to my attention. If that had been, we would have immediately reported it to both the EP and Event Organizer.

I’m not sure who my teammates talked to then. Could anything be done about this now?

Please see my reply in your private messages.

Make sure to buy or build a case for your robot that can be locked as well. This will ensure that your robot doesn’t be tampered with, as well as it will ensure that your robot is in a safe container. When your robot is out in the open, make sure that there is always someone on your team that is watching the robot. Try to be aware of suspicious activity as much as possible. Also, if you aren’t doing quick swapping, do it for motors. Basically, instead of using screws, you would simply zip tie the motor on. This allow quick and easy replacements of the motors if they ever become damaged or you may need to switch internal gears.
Hopefully this helps you in the future to prevent this incident from happening again.

  • [TVA]Connor

It is disappointing about the Design award. However, you have to understand that there are many, many good teams in our area that have solid notebooks & interviews that are just as deserving as you. I know the team that won the design award was not one that you’d have guessed, but it’s disrespectful to even think that they did not deserve the award.

The rubric sheets have only been given out at a few tournaments this season. We like to use this to better our notebook as well, but they do not have to get them back.

About the wires being cut, they did look extremely clean cut. However, it’s not a for sure thing that another team cut them. It could have gotten caught in the lift somehow or caught on another robot. It definitely can’t hurt to be extra cautious in the future though.

@pkrish I am sorry that you had such a poor experience at your tournament.

As mentioned above, judges are instructed to not give back the rubrics. While this is annoying to many, those were the rules that existed ahead of time. We can only hope that the judges made the best decision they could with the information they had. Unfortunately, judged awards will always be based on opinions, and so the only thing you can guarantee is your sportsmanship and effort throughout the season.

As for the potential sabotage, we can only hope it was an accident. Make sure your wiring is secure against getting snagged or cut on the robot itself. Periodically check your motors, wires, and sensors to make sure nothing is amiss. Do this especially at the start of every practice or tournament, and every time you come back to your robot after being away at an event. People will always look for ways to cheat. This is a HUGE problem at large events such as worlds, where a team from our region had their rubber bands cut before a match when they were eating.

I suspect part of your disappointment may come from not qualifying for the next level of competition in your state or area. Make sure to keep your skills scores up, and participate in the online challenges in upcoming years so you get more chances for qualification at the events you want to attend.