F.H. Clergue’s iSMAK earns top Sault honours at World’s


Day 3 and the final day of competition at the World VEX IQ Robotics Championships saw all three Sault teams in heavy competition, with mixed results.

In the younger Elementary Age Group, Notre Dame’s “Petits Loups” managed steady scoring in their first 4 matches, with solid scores ranging from 135 to 149, which held them in the middle of the 80-team division. A very weak partner in their final match resulted in their lowest score and they fell to 54th overall in their division to finish the tournament. Their Robot Skills scores fared better, with a strong 132 point solo effort in Driving Skills and another 12 points in Programming skills, which placed them 148th in the 400-team contest.

Their older cousins, the “Grand Loups”, competing in the Middle School age group had a very strong start, with their 3 highest scoring matches, including a high of 191 points.   This pushed them up the rankings into the top half of the 80-team group until their last match, where they drew the lowest ranked team as a partner and suffered a 74 point finish and a drop into 47th place overall in their division. However, their solo efforts produced an impressive 137 point Driver Challenge score and they also added an 83 point Programming score to finish 42nd in the World in overall Robot Skills, the highest placing ever for any Sault team for the Skills Challenges.

The final team, F.H.Clergue’s iSMAK had a strong 3rd day, with 241-point start and all 5 matches averaging 234 pts, which moved them steadily up into playoff contention.  After starting the day in 36th, they were shocked to end the round-robin stage in 11th place, securing the Sault’s only playoff berth.  In the division playoffs, where the top 20 robots pair up to compete in a single match, iSMAK hit a disaster, as their robot brain turned on in an error mode, disabling 2 of their 6 motors and crippling one drive motor and one collecting motor.  Even in its crippled state, they managed to add 80 points to a 204 point effort, but their alliance did not advance to the World Championship playoff round.  However, they finished their division playoffs in 7th place, and overall, ended up 36th in the World in the Teamwork competition, the highest that a Sault Team has ever finished in the IQ program.  A great end for a season that started almost a year ago and saw over 5,000 teams compete in their age group worldwide.

The day wrapped up with the teams watching the final World Playoffs, and cheered as a Brampton Ontario team, the “Discobots” paired with a Chinese team to take the World Robotics Gold Medal.   While the event wrapped up, the “Guinness Book of World Records” came by and awarded VEX with the World Record for the largest robotics competition in the world.  In the final part of the day, VEX announced their new game design, and teams can now begin to plan for the 2018-19 season and design all new robots to tackle the new game.  Locally, this marks the end of another successful season, with new performance records, attendance records and sets the stage for another great season next year. Interested schools and community groups, or private clubs can contact Jonathan Budau at [email protected] for information on how to get involved next year.