ABJ robotics team qualifies for VEX World Championships

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A high school robotics team is once again heading to the big leagues after a two-year absence due to the pandemic.

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The Archbishop Jordan (ABJ) Catholic High School robotics program has two robots that qualified for the VEX World Championship this year, and their teacher, Scott Crosbie, isn’t surprised.

“The students did amazing and I can’t speak highly enough about them. Every year they blow me away with what they come up with and there has been a ton of rebuilds and different things we try. You try one thing and it fails so you try something else and it seems to work ok but you go to a competition that you want to try yourself and it is constant re-upping of the quality of the design, ”he said. “When we had the competition our design proved to be pretty effective.”

Nicolas Meurer, a Grade 12 student on the ABJ robotics team, said it was a lot of work, but making it to worlds shows it has paid off.

“It was pretty cool and we put a lot of time into it,” Meurer explained. “My brother, who is three years older than me, was in it and he did pretty well and made it to worlds, which inspired me to get into it.”

Meurer said the entire team is hoping to be able to go to the world championships, pending approval from the school division.

The team is no stranger to the VEX World Championships and Crosbie said they are thrilled to qualify again.

“The last time we qualified was in 2020. We didn’t actually get to go though. We secured a spot to go but that is when COVID was beginning in March 2020 and the World’s got canceled at that point, ”he said. “Before that, we had been down to the World Championship about five or six times.”

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Despite qualifying this year, Crosbie said it is still unclear if they will be able to compete in the event, which happens in Dallas, Texas from May 5 to 7.

“This year, it is the same kind of deal. There is a red alliance and blue alliance and each has two robots, so it is a 2 vs. 2 situation, ”he said. “This year, you have to take weighted mobile goals and move them on to a platform and balance them in order to get points.”

Crosbie noted that the students have built some incredible robots for this year’s challenge, called VEX Tipping Point, and they will continue to improve their skills and tweak designs as they await decisions on whether they will go to the world championship.

ABJ has not yet brought home first place at the VEX World Championships, but Crosbie said just qualifying is an amazing feat.

“This year, the worlds has 800 teams and just to make it to worlds, you are the top 800 of 16,000 global teams. Just making it there makes you in the top five percent, ”he said. “We’ve done well and have made it into the knockout or elimination rounds in the past, but we’ve never won. That would be a dream, but really I’m just proud of the kids for qualifying for this because it is a huge accomplishment. ”

You can find out more about the team on Twitter at @ABJRobotics or find out more about the competition at vexrobotics.com.



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