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Saint John’s Prep Robotics Teams competed at the VEX Robotics Competition

The Saint John’s Prep Robotics Teams competed at the VEX Robotics Competition at St Cloud River’s Edge Convention Center in February 3-4. This was the area’s fifth consecutive world-qualifying event. It was a very exciting weekend with some very tough competitions and challenges. Team 1 finished as MN State semi-finalists.Team 2 finished 1-6, with two excruciatingly close losses.

Here is Coach Glenn Holt’s summary of the competitions:

Team One
Alex Holt ’17,  Jenni Lee ’17, Kamso Onyemeh ’18, Joel Kissela ’19
Nathan Broman ’17 and Risa Fines ’17 were not able to compete in the tournament because they were traveling to London with the SJP Interim Week trip. 

This team had an amazing tournament.  It started 1-1 from two tough qualifying matches Friday night.  On Saturday, however, they ran the table to finish 6-1 and secure a #9 seed for alliance selection.  They ultimately paired with teams from Fosston (Bruhsiden) and Grygla (Iron Chargers G) for the elimination rounds.  The strength of SJP’s robot was recognized by their alliance captain from Fosston, who let SJP run in all the elimination matches (usually the captain’s robot anchors the alliance).

In the quarter-finals they dispatched a Windom/Grygla C pairing without a loss.  In round two, the semi-finals, they faced the top seeded alliance, anchored by the two top seeded teams, both from Mankato West.   In the first match it was 4 claw-bots, and the game pieces were flying!  SJP and Bruhsiden, however, were overmatched by Mankato West’s effective piece removal and high hang ability.  They turned the tables in the next match, establishing point dominance early and holding down attempts to move pieces back across the fence.

It came down to the final game of the best-of-three match.  Since all 6 finalist robots get invites to the World Championships, the winner of this game would advance to Worlds, regardless of the finals outcome.  SJP and their partner, Grygla G, faced the two Mankato West clawbots from match 1.  The match was back-and-forth until the final 30 seconds, when Mankato acheived enough piece dominance to go for the high hang.  SJP was not able to move enough material over the fence in the remaining time.  They finished as MN State semi-finalists.

Team One Members Nathan Broman ’17 and Risa Fines ’17 were not able to compete in the tournament because they were traveling to London with the SJP Interim Week trip.

Team One also has much to be proud of:

  • – Superior Engineering: Nathan and team created a dominant robot.  My unbiased opinion is that it was one of the top five robots in the state (from over 200 teams!).  It was extremely effective and reliable.
  • – Superior Driving: Kamso and Nathan extracted every last coulomb of potential from that robot.  They both made a very difficult task look effortless and fluid.
  • – Superior Teamwork: Each person knew his/her role and executed it well.
  • – More lasting memories:  Jennifer twice (!) correcting the VEX judges on piece scoring and robot placement.   Her attention to detail and focus was a huge asset for this team.

Team Two
Alexis Akre ’18, Martin Nelson ’21, Jeremiah Weber ’20, Oliver Hennen ’20 and
Ben Jolkovsky ’19

This team had a challenging couple of days at the MN State VEX tournament.  The random alliance & opponent pairings in the qualifying rounds consistently did them no favors, and they found themselves needing nearly perfect performances to overcome these obstacles.  They finished 1-6, with two excruciatingly close losses.
This team has much to be proud of:

  • – Alexis’s leadership, which continuously improved the robot throughout the season and made sure that it was ready for each match.  Their robot never broke or glitched during a match, which even Team One (or the BeatBotz!) can’t claim.
  • – Martin’s decisiveness and steady hand on the joystick.  He was a good driver in matches, and made numerous (substantial) robot repairs at tournaments, under extreme pressure.
  • – Jeremiah, Oliver, and Ben, who performed double-duty as pit crew and scouts (running all over the Convention Center).
  • – Their team’s attitude, which was always positive and forward-looking.
  • – Martin also provided me with one of my favorite memories from the tournament when, on arrival Friday, he immediately completed the pre-tournament checklist and with his free time created a PowerPoint presentation for their robot to show other teams!