Superior Heights Students bring home top honours at VEX Robotics Regional Event

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Superior Height’s “BD-Boyz” robot-building team secured the Excellence Award (Tournament Winner) to take top honours at the Northern Ontario VRC Regional Qualifier in Sault Ste. Marie this past weekend. This award, the highest earned at the event, resulted from a combination of three performance and three judging categories. This 4-student team also brought home the BUILD Award (for excellence in construction and build quality). Their team was one of 19 teams that represented 7 intermediate and secondary schools from throughout the Algoma District. The action-packed day required middle school (grade 7 to 9) and high school students (grades 10 to 12) to execute the “Sky-Rise” challenge, a game which involved stacking hollow cubes onto tall tubes and stacked Sky-Rise pieces.

The Hornepayne 1 team celebrates after their gold medal playoff win.
The Hornepayne 1 team celebrates after their gold medal playoff win.

During the robot game competition itself, three other teams formed a strong alliance for the competition playoffs. Alliance Captains “Hornepayne 1” from Hornepayne Secondary school selected “Beast Frame” from White Pines and the “Vexter Knights” from Korah to form the playoff alliance that won in an exciting playoff final. They faced off against the alliance of White Pines’ “Kill-a-Watts” who chose the “BD Boyz” and a fellow White Pines team; the “Short Circuits”, and put out a valiant effort but lost out in an exciting 27-24 final match.
The three tournament champions, plus Excellence winners BD Boyz, have all qualified to compete at the Ontario Provincial VEX Robotics Championships on February 28th, in St. Catharines. Twelve teams from that event will be earn an invitation to the VRC World Championships in April.

Members of the “Cranium” team from Superior Heights contemplate their 6-wheel drive machine.
Members of the “Cranium” team from Superior Heights contemplate their 6-wheel drive machine.

Other award winners at this event included:
Programming Skills Challenge Winner: “Hornepayne 2” from Hornepayne Secondary
Driving Skills Challenge Winner: “Hornepayne 1” from Hornepayne Secondary
Design (Engineering) Award Winner: Short Circuits; from White Pines
Create Award: “Hornepayne 1”
Energy Award: “The Little Vikings”, Michipicoten High School (Wawa)
Sportsmanship/Teamwork Award: “Hornepayne 1”
Judges’ Award (top Middle School Team): “Missing Parts”, Korah Intermediate School

superior stacking ability helps the Hornepayne1 team achieve the highest stacking scores of the tournament.
superior stacking ability helps the Hornepayne1 team achieve the highest stacking scores of the tournament.

Event Director Jonathan Budau, from ADSB said, “This event showcased some great engineering talent in the form of some very creative and innovative designs. I was pleased to see that every school that competed last year returned, and we added more schools and teams. We saw some second-year teams mentoring and assisting rookie teams and everyone was learning and expanding their experiences. Returning teams added some exciting new approaches to their designs and took some risks with new materials and learning new techniques, and this is something that often can’t be taught in a classroom setting. These students spent a Saturday yelling and cheering on their drivers and their creations and being excited about the STEM (Science, Tech, Engineering, Math) disciplines. We are very happy where the VEX platform is leading our schools and our students and could not be more satisfied with the program this year.”
Teams of 4 to 10 students averaged about 50 – 100 hours of team practices during the semester, which included learning the skills of electronics, programming, mechanical design and systems, 3D CAD, and the overall engineering process.
Jonathan Budau also wished to thank the supporters and event partners who helped to create the league and the competition event locally; “TenarisAlgomaTubes continues to be an integral part of the support program for this league, and without this support, this league would not have been possible here. Adding to this, Algoma District School Board has always stood behind this project, adding support to our classroom teams, and the Algoma chapter of the Professional Engineers of Ontario once again stepped up as event sponsor and assisted us in funding the purchase of the competition equipment. Finally, Sault College has provided a perfect facility for this event, and their staff donating countless hours to assist us to run this competition. This event would not happened without the support of all of our partners.”
This year, over 10,000 teams from 32 countries will compete in various qualifying events worldwide. More information about the VEX Robotics Competition is available at Roboticseducation.org and RobotEvents.com.

Semi-final play with four robots starting off their match.  Teams gained points by stacking the yellow SkyRise pieces into a tower, and also stacking the coloured cubes onto perimeter tubes or their Skyrise towers.
Semi-final play with four robots starting off their match. Teams gained points by stacking the yellow SkyRise pieces into a tower, and also stacking the coloured cubes onto perimeter tubes or their Skyrise towers.