Reporter: Ryan Verrydt
Teams from Canada and the United States were at the Campus Recreation and Wellness Centre March 6-8 competing for a spot in the world championships.
The For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology (FIRST) competition pits teams of three against each other in a pass-and-shoot style game.
Of the 48 teams at the event from Ontario, Quebec, Alberta, New York, and Michigan, the all-Ontario alliance of Paradigm Shift, W.A.F.F.L.E.S., and The Big Bang emerged victorious.
The practice matches started on March 6 with teams fine-tuning and tweaking their robots before qualifying began the next day.
Teams were back at the CRWC early on March 7. Opening ceremonies kicked the day off at 8 a.m. with speeches from members of F.I.R.S.T. Robotics Canada, Durham College president Don Lovisa and Dr. Tarlochan Sidhu of the dean of UOIT’s faculty of engineering and applied sciences.
“Science and math and engineering mean fun,” said Sidhu as students cheered and applauded.
Qualifying matches went on throughout the day and into the morning on March 8 as teams tried to pass the ball and shoot it into the six-foot high goals in order to score points during the two and a half minute match. The more passes, or assists, a team made before they scored, the more points they earned.
Teams then had about 15 minutes to select their alliances for the best two out of three elimination rounds. The eventual champion alliance won their quarter-final and semi-final matches without needing the third game.
In the finals, the losing team started with only two robots on the court because of a malfunction. The match would end in a 147-60 score for the champion alliance. Even in the second game, with the opposing team having all three robots, the champions won 79-57 and booked their spot in the world championships.
After a quick tear-down of the court, the closing ceremonies started and the champions were crowned. They were not the only award, winners though.
Judges were walking round throughout the two days of competition, assessing and awarding teams for innovation, teamwork, spirit and professionalism.
Team number 781, the Kinetic Knights, from Kincardine, Ont. won the Regional Chairman’s Award for their work within the community.
The Knights organization is recognized as a charity by the Canadian Revenue Agency and they work hard in their community, not to build award-winning robots, but to “set your potential in motion.”
The event ended with a video and poem showing how the Knights were struggling and on the verge of collapse, as there wasn’t enough interest. They went out in their community, got more members and now have about 50 students as part of their teams.