Wednesday, 13 June 2018 14:43

St. Josephs CHS At Skills Canada Nationals

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With mechanical precision, two ambitious St. Joseph Catholic High School students climbed their way to the top to meet the challenge head on. Ryan Beck and Keadyn Knox won gold at the Canadian Skills Provincial Robotics Competition, defeating 15 other teams in a head to head, double elimination style tournament.

The dynamic duo demonstrated stamina and determination by first competing on Thursday and Friday in Edmonton for two solid eight-hour-days. Afterwards they drove home Friday night arriving home at 3:00 a.m. Saturday morning. Quickly travelling back to the school later that morning to work on their current robot and then proceeded to fly out the next morning.

Upon arrival they soon faced the near impossible challenge of building a robot from parts they had never used before. Not to mention, programing the machine in a coding language they had never seen. The company which provides the robot for the competition, decided to give each of the Provincial winners the kit to use at the national competition. Players would also completely disassemble and wipe the memory before the start of the national competition. Unfortunately, the Alberta Provincials ended one day before nationals and the boys were not given the robot until after they won. The majority of teams completed their provincials back in Fall 2017 and had the opportunity to train with their robots. Team Alberta faced the challenge head on and was able to meet the deadline to compete at Nationals.

At the competition, Team Alberta would perform live in front of an on-looking audience, while at the same time completing the challenge in four minutes. The core game scenario required a Robot (or two) to build a pair of pipelines to deliver oil (one-inch ball bearings) through Pipelines to the Refinery. In the event of a spill the Robots were required to clean up the mess by delivering the balls to a designated Hazardous Waste Containment Site (square zone).

During the competition, Team Alberta was challenged by the referees for how their robots were being used in the game. The ball bearings had to hit the floor before they could be collected by the robot. Most of the other teams would just spill them first and collect them randomly. What Team Alberta cleverly figured out was to collect all the balls as they bounced off the floor. The referees thought the balls were hitting the robot before they were touching the floor, which would make them ineligible for points. The players proved to the referees/judges/committee that the balls were indeed hitting the floor prior.

At the end of their journey Team Alberta finished 10th overall out of 11 teams. They left with their heads held high, knowing they had done the near impossible. Like any good underdog story, the future is looking bright for our young hopefuls as not just one, but two St. Joe’s teams are looking to compete in next year’s Robotics events.

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-Learn more about Skills Canada here:

Alberta Provincials, Photos provided by Skills Canada Alberta.

Skills Canada Pic

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