Gladstone Secondary Robotics Teams Place First and Second at this Year's Regional Championships

In BCIT's gym, the whizzes and whirrs of robots filled the room, as students from all over BC, Alberta and Washington State geared up to test their machines' mettle in the ring. 

Robots are designed and built to pick up coloured balls and drop them into cylindrical goals, in a game called 'Toss Up.' Competition is fierce and the game relies on quick thinking and being able to plan moves ahead of the other team. 

Creating the robots requires combinations of mechanical, drafting and programming acumen from student groups. 

Fresh from qualifying for April's VEX World Championship in Anaheim, California, the Robosavages brought an enviable track record to BCIT. In 2012, Gladstone placed first and second in the World Championship, a feat that has yet to be matched. 

At BCIT, the Robosavages also picked up the awards for Engineering Design, Top Programming Skills and Top Robot Skills, which requires deft driving. But the Excellence Award is what Gladstone's robotics teacher Todd Ablett says really set Gladstone apart. 

"It requires judges going over the robot, its mechanical features and through the programming," says Ablett. "It's actually tougher than the competition itself, because students have to present the robot, claim what it can do and then the judges go over it meticulously. They have to be impressed."

Though not a qualifying round for the VEX World Championships, winning the regional championship is often a promise of good things to come. 

"Of the last 12 world champions, 3 or 4 have come through this tournament," says Todd Ablett. "There's serious bragging rights!"

Despite the wins, Ablett says the team won't be resting on their laurels. The Robosavages are already preparing for April's competition. 

"The students will likely be in the shop on the second week of Spring Break," laughs Ablett. "There's going to be some late nights, but they're excited and they're working hard for Anaheim."

To watch a short feature video about the Gladstone team, click here or below.

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