OSWEGO, NY – Thirty-six robotics teams from all over New York State competed, by invitation only, on January 25 for the title of State Champion at the Northern NY VEX Toss Up State Championship.
Only winning teams from previous regional contests were invited to compete in the state championship.
The VEX Robotics Competition was held at Onondaga Community College’s SRC Arena.
This year’s challenge was to build a robot which could score points by moving large balls around a field, over obstacles and on top of “goals.”
There were also smaller, hexagonal-faced “bucky balls” to stash inside the “goals” and to move around the field.
Two teams from Oswego dominated the competition during the qualification rounds.
Both teams made it to the semi-finals; both teams won special awards.
And, one of them won a coveted spot in the next level of competition.
Although the students are on different teams in Oswego, they frequently practice together at SUNY Oswego’s Department of Technology and are each other’s strongest supporters.
Oswego High School’s team, the Camelot Crusaders (#6050), held third place after all 72 qualification rounds were completed.
Their overall record was 7 wins and 1 loss. They made it through two quarterfinal battles with wins of 45-35 and 61-28.
They lost the next semifinal match with a score of 47-44, keeping them out of the finals.
The Crusaders walked away with the Programming Award, their score being the highest of the day for the Top Programming Skills Side Challenge where the robot completes tasks autonomously through a coded program written by team members.
This team’s robotic strength was stashing small bucky balls inside the goal as well as moving the larger balls onto the goals.
Members of the Camelot Crusaders are Brooke Krassowski, Zachary Bush, Mallory Gordon, Anthony (AJ) Wetzel, Bo Yang Li, Alex Kouthoofd, Collin Ballou, Kyle Kemper, Austin Salvadore and James Jaskula.
Zachary Bush, a robot builder for his team, said, “States was fun and exhilarating. We have come a long way for this being our first year in VEX!”
Coach is OHS’s technology teacher, Matthew Bock.
SUNY Oswego Technology Department faculty member, Rich Bush, serves as a team parent/mentor.
Freezing Code (#9282) is a 7-12 grade team sponsored by the Department of Technology at SUNY Oswego.
They placed first in the qualification rounds by being undefeated in the 8 matches played.
Freezing Code went on to win the remaining robot battles with their ally, Six Sigma, from Granville, NY.
The allies won their quarterfinal robot battles with scores of 50-16 and 34-17, getting them into the semifinal round.
They then won both of the semifinal rounds with scores of 46-42 and 29-27, both narrow margins.
In their final battles of the day, they won 51-43 and a nail-biting 42-41, winning the State Championship!
Freezing Code also won the Excellence Award for being the Top All Around Team, which was based on judges’ interviews with team members about robot improvements made over time, teamwork, individual skills, the Engineering Notebook and overall robot performance as well as their observations of the team’s sportsmanship, professionalism, passion, and knowledge.
This team’s robotic strength was hanging their robot from a 40” bar while holding a large ball.
Freezing Code and their ally of Six Sigma, are now two of five teams in New York State qualified to participate in the Vex World Championship.
Part of the success of the team can be attributed to programming the robot to do tasks during an autonomous mode.
Michael Beckwith Jr., a 14-year-old programmer for the Freezing Code robot, said, “Programming in VEX takes what I’ve done only on a screen for years, and applies it in real life. I feel robotics is where programming is at its best instead of video games and other entertainment platforms.”
A 16-year-old “driver” of the robot and contributor of Freezing Code’s Engineering Notebook, Lydia Tryon, said, “When I turned around and saw the score, I heard screaming from my alliance partner. We had won by 1 point! We had never lost one match throughout the entire competition and we were the only team who could say that. All in all, I am so very proud of my team. We all played a part in making the World’s Competition in California a reality!”
Members of Freezing Code are Jordan Tryon, Lydia Tryon, Michael Beckwith Jr., Adam Humphrey, Jordan Runner, Jeremy Braiman and Evan James.
Coaches are SUNY Oswego Technology student, Justin Montois; SUNY Oswego Technology Department faculty member, Daniel Tryon; and parent/mentor Dr. Mark Humphrey.
The VEX Toss Up World Championship, held in Anaheim, Calif., on April 23-26, will be an epic robotic challenge with 400 teams competing from 27 countries around the world.
“To everyone’s surprise, this new team has worked very hard to create the opportunity to do what no other robot team in our community has ever done…for high school students to represent Oswego on a world stage in the area of science, technology, and robotics. I hope that this fairytale story continues for a few more months. The seeds that we are planting now will bear important fruit,” said Daniel Tryon.
Jordan Tryon, his 14-year-old son who is a builder and scout for Freezing Code, said, “Our team made it to States which was amazing and a great learning experience. However, the Worlds competition will be an even better learning experience. I just hope we get enough sponsors and money to be able to go and compete.”
They have until April 23 to do just that.
Justin Montois, a student at SUNY Oswego and coach of the Freezing Code team, said, “Attending competitions are important because of the inspiration that can be found in the conversations with other teams. When you talk about how they tackled the challenge and you share how you went about it, that exchange of information is a powerful and special thing.”
Teams will meet to have fun, compete, learn, share, participate, and represent their hometowns.
The next step for this Oswego Robotics Team, Freezing Code, will be to raise funds to attend this competition to represent our area.
Today we are starting a campaign to raise $12,000 to send Freezing Code to this event.
We have less than two months to secure funding to make this happen.
We are working on ways to recognize private and corporate sponsors willing to contribute to this cause.
We need your help.