St. Catharines robotics teams impress in world match-up

Simcoe’s third VEX Championship win since 2006

Young St. Catharines robotics enthusiasts triumphed last weekend.

Five qualifying secondary schools from the Garden City descended on the prestigious VEX Robotics World Championship in Orlando, Fla.

There, teams from Governor Simcoe, St. Catharines Collegiate, Holy Cross, Sir Winston Churchill and Ridley College joined forces for the huge match-up of 3,800 teams from 20 countries.

In the end, Governor Simcoe's alliance with Massachusetts and Washington teams took the VEX Championship title for the third time since 2006.

"Our city schools had world- class performances and our Grade 9 team ... kept their composure against tough opposition," said Greg Phillips, Governor Simcoe's head of technology and robotics coach.

"I am very proud of Simcoe's other three teams."

In the VEX competition, which took place April 14-16 at Disney World, "alliances" of two teams compete in matches.

Robots first perform pre-programmed tasks, and that is followed by driver-controlled play.

Teams try to score rings on elevated goals and may hang from a ladder at the end for bonus points.

One Simcoe team won the science division and took home the VEX world championship.

An all-girls Simcoe team was a quarter finalist in that same division. Another joined forces with Ridley to become finalists in the technology division.

"Ridley and Simcoe formed a great alliance," said Ridley coach Rodney Reimer, who is head of the school's robotics and engineering programs. "It is a great accomplishment for Niagara school robotics."

Ridley's other teams also had a strong showing.

One climbed the ranks to a finish with five wins and four losses in the top division.

In that same division, another fought its way to a 7-2 record, but eventually lost in quarter-final action.

Another robot — allied with Governor Simcoe — also made it to the divisional finals in their group, resulting in a tie for fifth.

Holy Cross, with three qualifying teams, had one that placed 12th overall in its division and made it to the quarter finals.

Collegiate, in their first VEX world championships, finished third overall in the robot driver skills competition and sixth in science, but lost in the quarter finals.

Sir Winston Churchill finished sixteenth in the technology division.