Debut of “GrabbyScori” Robot at CECFC Tournament

CECFC awards

By Bethany | Today’s tournament went very well, and was a good debut of our new robot, named “GrabbyScori.” Our program scored 94 points out of the 180 we’ve gotten on our practice field, because it was moving too far left when scoring. We hope to fix this before our next competition. In driving, some things went wrong, but we still scored 177 points. In total, we scored 271, putting us at 13th place on the Worlds VEX IQ middle school scoreboard.

Teamwork went very well. We implemented many new strategies, and nearly all of them worked. A couple of times, we didn’t coordinate where on the field the robots would be, leading to collisions. From this, we learned that it is important to consider every part of a strategy.

There was one specific issue with the program that should probably be fixed soon. There is a 1-inch allowance when it comes to fields, and rings are often written on. The writing definitely doesn’t alter anything by an inch, but our color sorter sometimes seems to see the writing instead of the ring. This causes our color sorter to sort rings incorrectly.

We learned a lot about sportsmanship from other teams at the event. One team’s controller almost never connected, but they kept smiling. Another team had their program break again and again, and yet they continued trying until it worked.

Qualification Match Scores


Average: 111, Seed: 1

Finals Match Score



Driving high score: 177
Program high score: 94
Total skills score: 271
World skills ranking: 13


Robot Skills Champion
Teamwork Champion
STEM Award
Excellence Award

Things to Focus on Before Next Tournament

  • Practice STEM script more
  • Improve program’s ring scoring; clean up code and make it more robust
  • Continue practicing driving
  • Work on robot design to try to prevent dropping rings
  • Practice not interrupting each other during interviews

More thoughts on the Red Hawk Ringmaster tournament

By Bethany | Our 12/9 tournament went very well. We passed inspection immediately and went to skills. Unfortunately, on our first skills run, things went badly. Luckily, the score was dropped because the field was built incorrectly. We decided to then run our program (on a different field). The robot was moving along the field, bumped the wall, and missed the button. Dillon picked up the robot, set it in the starting square, and hit go again. There were a few issues with getting the refferees up to speed, which meant that the timer was stopped when the robot was touched. Once again, we got our run back. We  then drove skills again on one of the teamwork fields. Our robot started randomly moving when the controller wasn’t being moved, and it was determined that this was because of phones with bluetooth on interfering with our smart radios. That meant, yet again, our match was dropped. The referees also looked for other teams affected by this and dropped their scores too. Eventually, we ended up with a skills score of 92 and a programming score of 27, which was just  barely enough to earn us the Skills Champion award.

We also won the Excellence Award. We hope that it is because we did great, but it may have just been that we were the only Middle School team with a STEM project…

We were really excited for teamwork, but it didn’t go well at first. Our robot works really well with robots that grab rings off of the wall, but a couple of low scores dragged our average down. Once we got going, we earned a score of 148 points, which brought us up to second place. In the finals, we drove with the Yellow Spudnicks, who we drove with in a scrimmage. In the finals, we scored 132, which was enough for us and the Spudnicks to win the Teamwork Champion awards.

We didn’t just learn about strategy. Other teams, whether they knew it or not, taught us about perseverance. Many of the teams at the tournament only had a few weeks to assemble their robots and learn to drive, but their determination kept them at the top of the leaderboard. Other teams faced numerous difficulties but never argued or got upset.

Finally, we learned about troubleshooting. All throughout the day, things went wrong. Instead of telling us exactly what went wrong and why, our coach asked us what we thought had happened and how we thought we could fix the problem. Was it the driver? The robot? Was the field built wrong? We were tasked with figuring this out, and it helped us grow.

Our teamwork scores ranged from 25 points to 148 points. Our skills scores ranged from 2 points to 92 points. Our program ranged from 0 points to 27 points.

Over the course of the day, we became the second teamwork seed. In the finals, we scored 132 points.

At the scrimmage, we predicted that our strategy of grabbing ground rings would work well with other teams’ strategy of going for wall rings. This proved to be true.

Awards we won: Teamwork, Skills, Excellence, STEM

VEX IQ Crossover World Championship

By Bethany | The first day of the world championship went very well. We placed multiple high scores and, for a short amount of time, we were even in 1st place for our division, with the highest average teamwork score.

We presented our STEM project, traded pins, and submitted our Engineering Journal for review. We managed to qualify for the Technology Division finals as the 7th seed out of 77 teams.

The team was asked to be interviewed on live television, and I got to talk while Dylan Baer drove a clawbot (our robot was currently competing in a match).

We met teams from all over the world, including China, Canada, and the United Arab Emirates.

The design interview went well, with the judges asking the usual questions, such as “What roles did each person play?”, and “How did you come up with this design?”. They came back a second time during the TV interview and asked similar questions.

In one qualifying match, our robot stopped working while we were waiting in line. We had to drive the placebo bot, which was just a clawbot. The placebo robot was broken but still driveable, so we continued the match using the broken placebo bot. From that match we learned to keep on going even when things don’t go particularly well.

Overall, our first time at worlds was really fun. We learned a lot from the other robots and teams, placed 7th for the qualifying matches in the Technology Division, and drove in the division Finals. The Crossover season was a great one, and the Tiger Hawks are looking forward to the new challenge: Ringmaster.

Team 80516 is Going to Worlds!!!!

CO VEX Championship

By Bethany | Today was the Colorado State Championship for VEX IQ, and it was AWESOME!

We started by presenting our STEM research project, which went pretty well. It was fast, and the judges only asked two questions. We remembered all of our lines and nobody made any mistakes.

We moved on to running the program after passing inspection. It didn’t do very well (only 30 points), but we eventually realized why. It was very bright where the fields were, and that messed up our color sensor, which searches for black lines.

Driving skills went better, with Parker and Dylan scoring 65 points.

Teamwork went very well, although some of the 10 matches went better than others. We were the final match in the finals, paired with Chazak, and managed to score 65 points, which got us teamwork champions and qualified us for the VEX IQ World Championships! Our right gear train was barely working during the finals match, and balancing the bridge was very hard, but we made it!!!

We were given the Middle School Excellence Award, which also qualified us for worlds. We were very happy to hear that we got to keep the massive banners for our robotics lab, but we have no idea where to put them.

We are also so excited that Team Chazak qualified for worlds, too, and we are happy to be making the trip to worlds with them.

Robot-CYO Tournament earned us another Excellence Award!

By Bethany | Today in the early qualification matches things didn’t go particularly well. We didn’t get very high scores, mostly because of troubles getting on the bridge with our allies. We were in 8th or 9th place when we got paired with Chazak for match # 36.

Our strategy with Chazak was for them to grab all 4 hex balls off the wall and score them while we were doing the same with orange. The bridge would start tilted to our side and we would cross over to them so that we could go on the bridge first with them coming up behind us. We did the bridge this way because their robot, which is so much heavier than ours, would tip the bridge if they went on first. If the lighter robot, which is often ours, goes on first it is much easier to balance.

After our match with Chazak, where we scored 63 points, we became 2nd place and they became 1st. We stayed in 2nd place until our last match, where we scored 55 points with Juggernaut, which brought us up to 1st.

In the finals match we were paired with Chazak again, and used the same strategy. This time we were able to do it much faster and we scored 65 points with 25 seconds left on the clock! This got us a Teamwork Champion award.

We presented our STEM project for the 2nd time, after making lots of changes and additions to it based on the last tournament. We did better than last time, but we still have much room to improve.

In the skills challenges, early in the morning we were in 1st place with a combined score of 70 (55 for driving and 15 with the new program). Then Chazak managed to get a combined score of 101 and we managed to get a combined score of 100 (45 with the old program). While we were trying to get our new program to score 65, Chazak scored 65 in driving skills and 61 in programming, putting them at a combined score of 126, getting them the skills champion award and putting them at #12 on the world skills board. We were impressed!

Our interview with the judges went pretty well, but could have gone better. We need to practice answering interview questions so we are all more prepared. They were very impressed by our engineering journal, especially Maia’s SnapCAD model of the robot.

During the awards ceremony, we got the Excellence Award, and Chazak got the Design Award. It was a great day of competition, and we were happy to get to work with Chazak in two different matches. We also got lots of practice balancing on the bridge with VERY big robots!

Northridge Elementary VEX IQ Tournament qualified us for State Championship!

By Bethany | The Northridge Elementary VEX IQ tournament went VERY well for our team. Our average for teamwork was 34.2 points! Our combined skills score was 108, which puts us at 15th in the world (then we later found out that we’re actually 10th!)! We were very proud of our Sportsmanship trophy, because sportsmanship was one of our weaknesses at previous competitions and scrimmages. For the first time ever, other teams were high-fiving when they got paired with us!!! The three trophies we received were Sportsmanship (yay!), Teamwork Champions, and Skills Champions. The tournament told us that there weren’t enough teams for Teamwork to qualify us for state, but shortly after we heard that they were wrong and we did qualify for state! Yay! They didn’t have the trophy for Sportsmanship, but promised they’ll get it to us later.

Trophies from Northridge Elementary VEX IQ Tournament were Teamwork Champion, Robot Skills Champion, and Sportsmanship

The Rocky Mountain Rumble and a trophy for Programming Skills Champion!

By Bethany | Today was our first competition, with 41 teams. We did lots of programming and driving skills runs, and finally our program scored 30 points. For most of the programming runs, the program overshot the bridge, so that’s something we’ll need to fix. Driving skills went well, and we scored 33 points twice, same as at the scrimmage. Our combined driving and programming score was 63, so we were the Robot Skills Champion team for the event. We had the highest programming score, so we got a trophy for programming. The boys like holding it over their heads victoriously.

The teamwork challenges didn’t go very well. We never got two robots on the bridge, and we think that we may need to redesign and make it narrower.

VEX IQ Programming Skills trophy

Build/Skills/Scrimmage in Loveland was a great start to the competition season

By Bethany | Today we had a scrimmage at the community center in Loveland. We hoped to see what other team’s robots looked like but most teams were just starting. Some teams had clawbots but we were one of two teams (the other was Juggernaught, from the Berthoud Robotics club) with more complicated robots. We did lots of practice for the driving skills challenge with a score of 3 in our first match and 33 by the end of the day.

In a scrimmage teamwork match with the team Juggernaught, we were able to get two robots on a balanced bridge and scored 36 points. We have started coming up with ways to score in the goals within the 1-minute time limit.

On a balanced bridge with Juggernaught