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September 19, 2018

Freezing Code Red Hot In Competition


Freezing Code, the local Vex Robotics Competition team, continued its winning season recently at a tournament in Troy, where it competed against 38 other teams from northern New York State.

Members of Vex Robotics Competition team Freezing Code at a recent practice session preparing for their next tournament, (students from left) Matthew Bates, Katrina Usiatynski, Jordan Tryon, Adam Humphrey, and Lydia Tryon. (Back row) mentors Casimir Usiatynski and Mark Humphrey, coach Daniel Tryon. Absent from photo: Michael Beckwith Jr., Jeremy Braiman and Jordan Runner.

Members of Vex Robotics Competition team Freezing Code at a recent practice session preparing for their next tournament, (students from left) Matthew Bates, Katrina Usiatynski, Jordan Tryon, Adam Humphrey, and Lydia Tryon. (Back row) mentors Casimir Usiatynski and Mark Humphrey, coach Daniel Tryon. Absent from photo: Michael Beckwith Jr., Jeremy Braiman and Jordan Runner.

They, with their two alliance partners from Clifton Park, were the tournament champions.

Freezing Code also received the tournament Excellence Award which is the highest award given in each Vex competition.

It recognizes excellence in building a quality robotics program including engineering an effective robot, executing successful competitive strategies, and documentation of the dedication of team members to high quality in all aspects of their work.

The group has competed in five tournaments this season, emerging as tournament champions in all of them and receiving awards for programming, design (twice) and excellence (three times).

Freezing Code is sponsored by the Technology Department of SUNY Oswego, coached by faculty member, Daniel Tryon, and mentored by Mark Humphrey, MD and Casimir Usiatynski.

Six of the team members are students at Oswego High School and two are home-schooled.

The team members and their principal responsibilities are: Matthew Bates, builder; Michael Beckwith Jr., programmer; Jeremy Braiman, scouter; Adam Humphrey, driver; Jordan Runner, scouter and social media specialist; Jordan Tryon, designer and builder; Lydia Tryon, driver; and Katrina Usiatynski, scouter and builder.

The team has built two robots this year and is designing a third that will use an approach substantially different from the others.

That design has not yet been released to public view but the team reports that preliminary tests are very encouraging.

According to coach Tryon, “The competitive robotics competitions give students excellent opportunities to use their knowledge and skills in science, technology, engineering, and math in real-life problem-solving activities. They spend untold hours on weekends and evenings in designing, engineering, building, troubleshooting, strategizing, and practicing in order to be ready for each competition.”

The Vex Robotics Competition selects a different challenge task each year.

More than 15,000 teams from all over the world work on the same task.

This year’s challenge is called Nothing but Net and requires the robots to pick up foam balls and toss them into a net through a triangular opening.

The robots move around in a twelve-foot square field, gathering up balls and positioning to throw them into the net. Every match begins with a fifteen-second autonomous period when the robots are controlled by computer code written by the students.

Drivers using remote controls drive the robots for the remainder of the two-minute match.

Tournaments begin with a series of qualifying matches that rank all the teams from highest to lowest. Each of the eight top teams then select one or two other teams, depending on the size of the tournament, to form an alliance.

The alliances then proceed through best two out of three matches in quarterfinal, semi-final, and final rounds until one alliance is victorious and becomes tournament champion.

Every match has two teams from two opposing alliances using a total of four robots on the field at a time. Competition is very keen and the suspense and excitement that build up during a tournament are every bit as great as at any sporting event.

Freezing Code will be hosting twenty teams at the Oswego Nor’easter Vex Robotics Competition on February 27, from 9:30 a.m. to about 4 p.m. It will be held in the School of Education Atrium between Park and Wilber halls on the SUNY Oswego campus.

It will be open to the public, admission free, and parking in Lot E 23, just north of Rich Hall.

Freezing Code has already qualified to compete in the Northern NYS Vex Championships that will be held in the SRC Arena at Onondaga Community College, on March 6.

Winning teams at that event will qualify to go to the World Vex Championships, April 20 – 23, in the Kentucky Exposition Center in Louisville, to compete with about 500 other teams from around the globe. Freezing Code participated in the world competition in 2014 at Anaheim, California, and in 2015 at Louisville, Kentucky.

Freezing Code team members and their families conduct various fundraising projects to purchase materials, pay tournament entrance fees, and assist with travel expenses. Persons or organizations wishing to become a sponsor or assist may send contributions payable to Freezing Code Robot Club, to Dan Tryon, 43 Burden Drive, Oswego, NY 13126.

Anyone with questions may email [email protected]

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