Local Robotics Teams Rock the Provincial Championships

Despite some challenging obstacles that conspired to prevent our intrepid group of roboteers from competing in this season’s Provincial Championships, namely a team bus breakdown combined with heavy snowfall, they all managed to make it to the tournament hosted on Saturday, March 2nd at Brentwood Collegiate School (BCS) in Mill Bay. A huge amount of gratitude goes to our tight-knit community of volunteers, parents, bus driver and coach who at a moment’s notice in the early morning hours drove their personal vehicles through challenging winter road conditions to deliver our numerous team members, robots and gear safely and miraculously on time to the tournament and literally saved the day and entire season.

Our Robotics71 teams competed against 30 teams from across the Island Region, including Brentwood, Shawnigan Lake, Salt Spring Island and Claremont – Victoria for the chance to compete at this season’s VEX World Championships to be held in Dallas Texas the week of April 25th. It was a long, hectic, action-packed day with some intense competition between the many talented teams who participated in the event. If you have never attended one of these robotic events, you owe it to yourself to witness one of these enthralling, multi-disciplinary competitions first-hand. As they are extremely entertaining, and our teams can always use a little extra encouragement from the audience.

The Comox Valley teams wrapped up the qualification rounds holding an incredible 7 of the top 10 positions, including 1st and 2nd place in the rankings. They then continued to battle their way through the quarter and semi finals. In the final rounds 4 Comox teams, with 2 partnered teams per alliance, duked it out for the tournament championship in a tightly matched duel. In the end, teams 7842X and 7842P edged out teams 7842Z and 7842F with a narrow 2-1 victory, securing Teams X – “The Unknown Variable” and P – “Noodles” positions at the 2024 World Championships for their second year in a row. Teams Z – “Zephyr” and F – “Fractal” brought home the 2 Tournament Finalists trophies, having both won 2nd place. Team-F also won the Design Award for their spectacularly effective and efficient design process, therefore winning them a position at the World’s as well. Thus, our teams secured 3 out of 4 available spots to compete at the 2024 World Championships, joined by Shawnigan’s team 6264X, who won the Excellence Award.

Vancouver Island Region, Provincial Champions: (Qualify for World’s) 7842X (Left):  Morgan Pinel, Nicholas Horel, Thea MacDonald   7842P (Right):  Elliott Patterson, Kaden Teha, Zander Hole

Tournament Finalists (2nd Place): 7842F (Left) Zane Radawiec, Laurian Blachford, Tim Sterk   7842Z (Right): Xavier Burgers, Liam Bugslag, Ira Turner, Connor Gallagher

But wait, there’s more! Comox teams also brought home the following trophies. Team 7842A – “Alphabet Soup” won the Build Award for their outstanding robot design and construction and team 7842B – “The Braindeads” brought home the Sportsmanship Award for their exemplary conduct extended throughout this season’s competitions. In all, our teams brought home 7 of the 12 trophies awarded at the Provincials. An amazing finish to this year’s stellar VEX Competition Robotics regular season. A huge congratulations goes out to all of our robotics teams for their highly successful and rewarding efforts this year. Hopefully, all have gained enduring friendships and memories that will last a lifetime, which is the true reward for their considerable dedication and skill. We look forward to seeing many of them return for more thrills, chills and spills next year and wish every success to our graduates in their future endeavors.

Build Award Winners: 7842A:  Liam Moquin, Mikayla Roddam, Kendra Robertson, Benoit Vaillant

Sportsmanship Award: 7842B:  Benjamin Thir, Lukas Leikermoser, Zan Oliphant

Finally, we can’t express our thanks deeply enough to our many generous sponsors, supporters, volunteers and parents who again made this incredible opportunity possible for our students this season. Unfortunately, there are far too many in our robotics community to personally thank without turning this into a lengthy novel. However, we extend our endless gratitude to all those who have financially assisted our teams, Coach Travis, the event coordinators, judges, referees, bus drivers, court setters, MCs, setup crews, match queuers, lunch counter staff, custodians, parents, mentors and community of volunteers. Many of whom have invested a considerable about of personal time, effort and money to support robotics both locally and across the Island. It is endearing that several of these are former robotics students who continue to pay it forward, years after they graduated and went on to successful careers often inspired by their early robotics experience here in the Comox Valley. However, a special thanks goes out to Steve Claassen, whom without his considerable, tireless efforts, Robotics71 and the Vancouver Island Robotics Association (VIRA) would not be the World-class successes they are today.

With that, we wish Coach Travis Lawrenuk and our Provincial Champs the best of luck at this year’s World’s in Dallas and hopefully we’ll see many of you back again next season.

Go Team 71!

Story by: Kemp Currie