London VEX Regional 2, Highgate School

On Wednesday 19th February, Highgate School hosted the largest Regional VEX competition in the UK outside of the National final. The john Warner School had a strong representation with four teams out of the 21 taking part.

The early rounds were mixed for the John Warner teams with the sixth form and year 10 teams squabbling in a three way fight for top spot and the two year 9 teams bouncing up and down the league table as they came to terms with a few technical issues. Mid-way through the qualifying rounds, the year 9’s 3116C and the year 10’s 3116A robots came up against two east Barnet robots, beating them by 64 points to 27. This result sent 3116A to the top of the table and catapulted 3116C into the top 5. With a flurry of good results in the closing qualifying matches, the final table showed 3116A on top with 3116 in close second, both being the highest scoring robots in the competition. 3116C had recovered from a poor start to 5th and 3116B continued to have issues and sat in 12th place.

The selection matches saw 3116 teamed with Thomas Lord Audley, 3116A teamed with Highgate schools 6053 and the two year 9 teams selecting each other for an all John warner match up. No John warner teams took part in the early matches as they had qualified highly enough to receive byes. In their quarter final matches, all the teams were too strong for their opposition and eased through to the semi-finals. In the first semi-final, the 6th form team of 3116 faced off against the all year 9 team, a grudge match from the Herts regional event that had seen the 6th formers victorious. On this occasion, however, the year 9’s proved they had learnt how to deal with the 6th formers attacks and managed to go through to the final with two straight wins. In the other semi, the matches were much closer as two Highgate robots faced off against each other teamed with a John warner robot and an East Barnet’s Virus robot respectively. At this stage, the matches were so close that the only difference between the teams was the autonomous program that students had put into their robots. An unfortunate mistake in the Autonomous phase left the John warner/Highagte partnership with too much to do and saw 3116A crash out with a 2-1 loss.

The final teams were the two John Warner year 9 robots, in Red, versus Highgate, on home soil, and Virus from East Barnet, in Blue. A furious and hectic first bout saw the John warner teams edge towards victory, only for 3116B to suffer a re-occurrence of their lift problem and fail to bag a guaranteed 20 points, leading to a 12 point loss. A 2 minute time out was called to fix the robot then round two commenced. In the final seconds of the 2 minute game, a blue scoring object drops over the point’s line picking up a last gasp 5 points. No-one is entirely sure of the score until it come up on the large screen and John Warner have lost by just 3 points!

During the course of the day, Paul McKnight of VEX UK had been interviewing teams and assessing their engineering log books as well as their knowledge of robotics. Team 3116 demonstrated a clear and concise understanding of their robot and their programming skills and were awarded the Think award. On top of this the main prize of the day was the coveted Excellence award which carries the highest accolade in VEX robotics. Judged on performance over the whole event as well as the log book and design of the robot, this award also carries a qualification slot for the VEX world Championship held in Anaheim, California. The excellence shown by the John warner Sixth form team plus Daniel Rowe’s superb presentation gave them the edge to take this home and book their place in California in April.

A big thanks to Highgate for hosting the event and congratulations for booking their place in the Nationals next month and well done (yet again!) to Virus, I hope you enjoyed the knock out stages!

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