Last Saturday, February 23, the 70 of the Ontarios best VEX Robotics teams gathered in St. Catharines to battle for top honors in the province. Also at stake were the covet invitations to the VEX  Robotics World Championships. Sault Ste Marie was represented by two teams, Lone Wolf Robotics, an independent team,  and RA9, a team out of Superior Heights.

Teams competed in two categories: a teamwork cooperative tournament, where teams worked with random partners and opponents to score points in a 2-vs-2 game format; and a skills challenge, where teams attempted to score maximum points in timed Driver Skill, and Programming Skills challenges. Additionally, teams were also judged in several different design categories.

Two Sault Ste. Marie teams attended; the “Lone Wolf” independent team, consisting of a pair of Korah students (Tia Bariciak & Shail Giroux), and the Superior

In the tournament, Lone Wolf, consisting of Korah students This Bariciak and Shail Giroux, started early  with dominant wins in their morning matches, finishing the morning session undefeated and ranked 1st, while the Superior Heights team found themselves at 2-and-2 leaving them ranked 20th going into lunch. During the afternoon round-robin matches, Lone Wolf continued to dominate, winning all three of their alliance matches, and finishing tied for 1st with a perfect 7-0 record. The Superior Heights team struggled with their alliance partners, losing the remainder of their matches and fell to 56th, eliminating them from the playoffs.

In the playoff draft, Lone Wolf chose Brampton’s Discobots as an alliance partner and moved into the semi-finals before losing out to another Discobot alliance team, bringing home a bronze medal in the Teamwork category. This earned them an invitation to the  World Championships.

Lone Wolf, not satisfied with one invitation, was not finished, they went on to post a winning score in the Skills Challenge, which along with earning them a second invitation, placed the 1st in Canada and 5th in the World, out of over 6000 teams.

Even still, their day was not done, as the judging awards commenced, Lone Wolf from under themselves receiving the top award of the tournament, the Excellence Award. This is the highest honor in the tournament, taking into account their success at all aspects of the competition. With this award Lone Wolf is now considered the top team in Ontario, and all earned their third invitation to the World Championships.

Lone Wolf is set compete against the top 600 teams from across the globe from April 24th to 27th, in Louisville, Kentucky.

The next robotics action will be on March 1st in Brampton as 11 elementary school teams as they compete in the VEX IQ Provincial Championships.

If you or your child is interested in becoming involved with the local VEX Robotics program, speak with your school principal or contact Mark Carlucci at [email protected].