By Faith Oak
On Saturday, November 18, Granada Hills Charter High School (GHC) hosted the VEX regional robotics competition. Out of the 47 competing teams, GHC was represented by Robodox VEX teams 599A, 599B, and 599C. Team 599A won and qualified for the VEX State Championship Competition.
Qualification matches began at 9:00 a.m. During qualification, teams were ranked after playing against one another in 70 matches. In matches, two alliances made of two teams each faced their robots off in an effort to achieve the higher score. Teams gained points through three measures: stacking cones on goals, scoring mobile goals in goal zones, and parking robots.
In the afternoon, the top eight teams then picked two other teams to form an alliance, and each alliance was placed into a playoff bracket for elimination.
Each elimination match was about two minutes long and included an autonomous period, where pre-loaded code controlled the robot, and a driver period, during which a person drove the robot around the field. Alliances that won two out of three matches moved on to face the next alliance until the final two alliances faced off to win the competition.
After qualification matches, 599A was ranked first, 599B was ranked fifteenth, and 599C was ranked twenty first. All three teams made it to playoffs in the top three alliances. 599B was the second seed’s first pick during alliance selections, and 599C was second pick for the third seed alliance. Both 599B and 599C were eliminated in quarterfinals, but 599A was undefeated and went on to win the entire competition.
Besides winning the competition, there were many highlights and exciting moments throughout the day.
“One of the best points was when the seed three alliance didn’t know what team to pick to join them, so they asked the crowd, and our team yelled ‘599C’ super loud, and that’s why they picked us. It’s a great feeling when your team gets picked for an alliance,” junior Jade Chen said.
The time and effort that went into preparing for VEX began months in advance. The process included inviting teams, judges, referees, and tech people and planning field placement, projector setup, and more. On the Friday before the competition, Robodox stayed after school from 5:00 p.m. to 10:00 p.m., setting up the gym for the following morning. After the competition ended at around 5:30 p.m. on Saturday, they stayed until 8:00 p.m. to clean up.
There were also opportunities for GHC students not involved in Robodox to help out during the competition.
“As a volunteer, I helped with field reset, which is essentially cleaning up and resetting the field after each round. It was wonderful seeing the robotics team in action, handling any situations that went their way and modifying the robots after each round to make them better,” junior Constance Chiang said.
Despite all the hard work that goes into these competitions, Robodox members are driven to continue by their success.
“My favorite part of competition is watching a project that took weeks of hard work from you and your teammates finally perform,” senior Alexis Bui said.
Because of their success in this competition, Robodox’s 599A team will advance to the state championship. It will compete alongside 599B, which qualified at a competition at Viewpoint School earlier this season.