Vermilion robotics kids champs again


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March 8, 2016 9:47 AM

Vermilion’s youngest robotics experts came away with some impressive accolades at the Border Battle robotics competition in Neilburg, Sask.
The Baking Robots, a team made up of 13 year-olds Rhys Racine and Kadin Morritt, came out champions last week after forming an alliance with another team and finishing the finals portion undefeated.
In the qualifying rounds of the event, which was put on by Vex Robotics, teams are randomly placed in alliances and compete two-on-two against robots from other alliances.
“This proved to be a winning combination as the alliance went undefeated in the finals and came out tournament champions,” said Kadin’s mother, Kim Morritt, in an email.
“What was really cool about this alliance is that the first place team was only 12 years old, it’s the first time the now 13 year old Baking Robots competed where they weren’t the youngest competitors.”
This year’s game was called “Nothing but Net” and part of the tasks saw the boys use their robot, Cookie, to pick up stacks of balls from around the field and throw them into a net.
The net had a high goal and a low goal with the higher goal yielding higher points earned.
The day started off rough for the Baking Robots, though, as program changes had been made to Cookie in the week leading up to the competition.
This led to some trouble, causing the pair to lose their first couple of matches because the robot wasn’t driving correctly.
“They won their third match as they drew a strong alliance with one of the other teams, so the boys switched back to their old programming they used at provincials,” Morritt said.
“In the next match, they had another loss because when they switched to their old programming, the motors on their flywheel (the shooter part of the robot) were turning backwards.”
This put them behind to seventh out of nine teams.
Things were looking dire for the Baking Robots until they got a break for lunch, time which was spent getting Cookie back into shape. 
This proved to be just what was needed as their new fixes saw them winning every remaining match of the competition.
“It was good enough to put them into fourth place at the end of the qualifying rounds,” said Morritt.
In the finals of the competition the top finishing teams choose another team with which to form their alliance.
Morritt said part of the challenge in Vex robotics is being able to pitch your teams as a good match for finals.
“The boys were very successful in this as the first place team chose them to be a part of their alliance,” Morritt said.
In addition two coming out champions the Baking Robots were also given the Excellence Award, recognizing excellence in all areas of the competition from sportsmanship, to design, driving skills and overall performance.

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