The world VEX Robotics championships were held in Orlando, Florida this year and the Ridley College robotics team qualified for the second year in a row to compete against 416 teams from 20 countries for the title! Here is a first hand account of what happened as told by coach Rodney Reimer:
Team 1509, piloted by John Hejzlar and built by John, Steve Docherty, and Enoch Ho, was the only team in the world that sported a double-claw design that allowed the driver to both descore an opponents ring while scoring their own in record time. Taylor Petrick programmed this machine and Steve was responsible for designing and building. The team was awarded the Create award for design and ingenuity for their work, one of only four teams to receive this award at the tournament. John went on to finish 8th overall in the round-robin tournament (out of 104) and had a 7-2 record even though on two occasions his partner in the alliance failed to score a single tube! He also finished 12th in driver skills out of 416 machines at the tournament.
Team 1509R, driven by Tyler Porter and built by Tyler Porter, Igal Flegmann, Enoch Ho, was programmed by Igal Flegmann. It competed with 1509 in the toughest division, the division that produced the eventual world champion. It was the only machine at the tournament that could score and descore well, load bases and stick them under the central ladder to lock up points, and perform the complex process of locking itself to the ladder and hanging 1/2 meter off the playing surface; this in less than 10 seconds! Tyler stubbornly stuck with this challenging design and eventually made it all work! 1509R became an announcers favourite but was plagued with mechanical problems in several of the round-robin matches. A broken motor (cracked gears) contributed to losses in two matches but in the remaining contests, Tyler managed to guide 1509R to 5 wins and 2 losses.
Team 1509B had the greatest success at the tournament result-wise but was in many ways the simplest machine. It was very fast and was guided by James Curtis, and designed and built by Steve Docherty, Taylor Petrick, Enoch Ho and Jacob Eschweiler. It became a fan favourite in the Technology division because of a large picture on the front with a picture of Charlie Sheen. James and Steve named the machine the “Ma-Sheen”, much to everyones delight. One of the reasons it was so effective was the intense use of sensors and countless hours of programming dedicated to it by Taylor Petrick. If it were not for a field problem that the VEX engineers could not specifically nail down, 1509B could well have been the tournament champion. As it ended, this machine finished 10th in programming skills and tied for 5th in the world in head-to-head competition. An outstanding feat for the “ma-Sheen”.
Especially at the worlds, but throughout our time at all tournaments, so much of our excellent intelligence on our opponents and allies came via our team of scouts. As well as acting as scouts, the team of Cheryl Wong, Hayyan Kalid, Jacob Eschweiler and Rhys Patterson (joining us from Laura Secord) served to keep us up to speed on all required details and keep our batteries charged, pit area organized and ran things back and forth from the pit area to the two competition fields as needed. They were a huge factor in our success.
A special thanks to generous sponsors who made these results possible. Ridley was very supportive of our efforts but we could not have shown the world what Ridley Tigers can do without the generous help from: Ophardt Hygeine, Porter Medical Group, RMT Robotics and CTFS. Much gratitude to you.