The St. Andrew's VEX roboticists were among a select group of teams invited to attend the Provincial finals last weekend in Niagara Falls. They repeatedly told us that the 62 teams present were the “best of the best,” so we knew it would be a challenging event.
Going into the competition, we were ranked 1286th out of 5466 teams worldwide, which was earned because our team's best score in one of our previous competitions was 134 points in the Robot Skills Challenge. Our ranking is a good result because the high total of teams represents all of the teams that competed in official VEX competitions, not all the VEX teams that attempted to design and build a robot this year.
I explained to the students that we needed to significantly improve our ranking to qualify for the World Championship and that we needed 250 points to be in contention for qualifying. The morning of the competition, we were randomly assigned alliance partners, which unfortunately did not benefit us; we needed to do more for ourselves. After a challenging morning to open the competition, we had zero wins and three losses.
The afternoon saw renewed life as the team won three of their four matches. They also participated in the first half of the Robot Skills Challenge. The first half involved the robot being controlled by our driver, and the team did great with a score of 148 points. They scored more points on half of the challenge than their best previous total score. We just needed about 100 points on the challenging autonomous portion of the Robot Skills Challenge, and we could qualify for Worlds.
Late in the day, we attempted the autonomous portion of the Skills Challenge, but our luck deserted us. The intake mechanism, which works flawlessly nine times out of 10, had an issue, and the resulting jammed component cost the team 20 points. We only scored 83 instead of our desired 100 points. The total score of 231 catapulted us up the world rankings to the position of 441, which put our team in the top 10 per cent of all teams worldwide. We also finished as the highest-ranked Independent School in the province; unfortunately, we were still 20 points short of qualifying for the world championships.
I am so impressed with our VEX roboticists. An exceptional effort from all members, and I must congratulate them: Eli Chin, Jack Liu, Andy Meng, John Qing, Michael Tsui, Andy Wang, Josh Wang, Aaron Wang, Adrian Wei, and Bryan Zhao.
Story by Terry Prezens, Head of Computer Science, Engineering Course Director