For local teams the 2011/2012 VEX Robotics Competition got off to an outstanding start on November 5 in Redmond, Washington. Forty teams from BC, Washington and Oregon gathered at Redmond High School to put their machines and strategies to work playing “Gateway”, this year’s VEX Robotics Competition challenge. With defending world champions and several divisional contenders from past world championships in attendance this was arguably one of the toughest tournaments to be held in North America so far this year. The end result saw Bellvue’s team W.A.S.A.B.I. lead an alliance with Richmond’s Cambie Secondary School to the tournament title and qualification for the 2012 VEX Robotics World Championships. Host teams from the Exothermic Robotics Club did very well, as did first-time contenders at this event, Archbishop Carney Secondary. The Carney team, from Coquitlam, got off to a great start and grabbed sole possesion of first place halfway through the tournament. While the more experienced teams eventually regained the lead, it will be interesting to see if they are able to hold on to it for the entire season.
This year’s game turned out to involve a great deal of physical interaction between the robots, and the new autonomous mode rules allowed for some interesting strategies in the opening stages of the game. Video of some of the elimination round matches is available on youtube, while photos have been posted as well.
The next tournament for BC/Washington area teams will be Saturday, December 10, at Cambie Secondary School in Richmond, BC.