Impressive is the best word to describe the results for local Robotics teams at the recent World Championships! Last weekend two high school robotics teams from the area travelled to Anaheim, California to compete in the Vex World Robotics Championships. 430 teams from 28 countries took part in the event. A team of students from Mark R. Isfeld School placed 3rd overall, while the team from Navigate, powered by NIDES placed 23rd. With over 750 tournaments worldwide and 7000 teams from over 33 countries vying for the 430 spots at Worlds, it was quite an accomplishment to even have qualified two teams from this area. That both teams did so well is remarkable!
The Vex Robotic Championships are the largest robotic championships in the world. Each year an engineering challenge is presented in the form of a game. Students build, create and program innovative robots designed to score the most points possible in that particular game. For this year’s game the robot had to fit within an 18" cube space, be able to pass under a 12" high barrier, lift scoring objects into 24" high towers and be able to lift itself 12" off the ground hanging from a 40" high bar.
At the World Championships the 430 teams were divided into 5 divisions. Within their division each team played 10 games in qualifying rounds and then were ranked according to their win-loss ratio and over-all points. The top 8 teams then played quarterfinals, semi-finals and finals to determine the overall winner of that division, with the division winner moving on to the Grand Finals to compete against the other 4 division winners. Both the NIDES team and the Isfeld team were placed in the same division. In the qualifying rounds Isfeld won 9 out of their 10 games and NIDES won 8 which put them in 1st and 5th place respectively and moved them both into their division finals. Both teams handily won their quarterfinal matches and then as luck would have it, they were matched against each other in the semi-finals. It was a hard fought battle with the Isfeld team coming out on top.
Isfeld went on to win the division finals earning them a position in the Grand Finals. In the Grand Finals they won two of their games and lost two which ultimately gave them a 3rd place victory overall in the tournament!
To have finished with such amazing results is a testament to both the skill level and the commitment level of both of these teams. These students have all put in hundreds, if not thousands of hours over this last school year creating and perfecting their robots. In addition, they have spent many weekends on the road traveling to competitions. This is only the second year for the NIDES robotic team making their results particularly impressive. For the three students from Isfeld this was their second time attending the World Championships. Last year they finished 42nd, so they are ecstatic with their 3rd place finish this year.
The students from Isfeld would like to pass on a few thank you’s to some very deserving people. First they would like to thank their coach, Robin Parlee, for his countless hours of patient guidance, support and encouragement and also for turning his house over to robotics for the last four years. Not only has his basement workshop been completely taken over by robot parts but he also constructed a 12' by 12' playing field which has remained in his living room for the last 6 months. Secondly the students would like to thank the members of the Courtenay and Comox Rotary Clubs for all of their encouragement and financial support these last two years.
The Team from NIDES would like to thank their coaches Stew Savard and John Gair for all of their time, guidance and support. They would also like to thank the Navigate, powered by NIDES, School Community for their generous support as well as local community sponsors.