Pair of Wool­wich ro­bot­ics teams earn spots at world cham­pi­onships

The Woolwich Observer - - NEWS - WHITNEY NEILSON

AN IM­PRES­SIVE SHOW­ING OVER the Easter week­end by Wood­land Chris­tian High School and Elmira Dis­trict Sec­ondary School’s ro­bot­ics teams at re­gional com­pe­ti­tion has earned them both a trip to St. Louis for the world cham­pi­onship.

The FIRST Ro­bot­ics World Cham­pi­onship runs Apr. 26-29.

The Wood­land team, the Cy­berCavs, fin­ished ninth in the prov­ince this week­end to earn their spot. The Elmira team fin­ished 14th in the prov­ince and earned a wild card spot for the world cham­pi­onship.

One of the Elmira team’s coaches, Ron Fletcher, ex­plains how the Elmira group com­peted over the week­end.

“We had an amaz­ing day on Fri­day and went into Satur­day ranked third in the prov­ince. Un­for­tu­nately, we lost our last round, but we still fin­ished 11th. We were quite happy about that and got picked by the sixth al­liance and we had a re­ally great show­ing. We were ex­tremely happy with how ev­ery­thing went,” Fletcher said.

They earned their wild card spot by per­form­ing well con­sis­tently over com­pe­ti­tions through­out the year. Each team earned points at the dis­trict com­pe­ti­tions prior to the re­gional event in Mis­sis­sauga last week­end. Head­ing into com­pe­ti­tion last week­end they were ranked 13th out of roughly 150 teams in On­tario. They re­cently changed to this struc­ture, which Fletcher says is more geared to be fair to teams who con­sis­tently per­form well.

“Of­ten the way the pick­ing sys­tem would go at a re­gional event, the third team might be a very weak team, but they got lucky enough to get picked. This is a lit­tle bit more fair es­pe­cially be­cause there are so many teams across On­tario, it helps to en­sure that On­tario is send­ing the very best ro­bot­ics teams to the cham­pi­onships in St. Louis.”

Fletcher says this year con­sis­tency has been key, and they seem to have found it. He also adds they’re very happy with how their ro­bot has per­formed.

He says they’ll make a few changes to im­prove their gear cy­cle changes, but won’t tam­per with it too much.

“There’s a few lit­tle things that we want to try to im­prove. There’s a few mi­nor changes. You can’t do a whole lot to the ro­bot any­ways, be­cause ob­vi­ously most of it is in a bag and you have a very lim­ited amount of time to work on it.”

They’re plan­ning to send about 26 stu­dents from the team, as well as coaches as par­ents. Ev­ery­one is ex­cited to make the trip – a first for many.

“Ev­ery­one was pretty ec­static. This is a first for many of our team. The last time we went was in 2014. We’ve had a cou­ple of years where we’ve been re­ally close,” Fletcher said.

He notes parental and com­mu­nity sup­port has been a great part of the team this year, from par­ents mak­ing the trip to watch com­pe­ti­tions in Mis­sis­sauga and Wind­sor, to lo­cal com­pa­nies putting up thou­sands of dol­lars to make the pro­gram pos­si­ble at EDSS.

“We are so thank­ful for the spon­sors, Elmira Pet Prod­ucts and Sys­tem­atix are two of our big, lo­cal spon­sors. Google is an­other spon­sor that we have. We wouldn’t be able to do this if it wasn’t for the thou­sands of dol­lars that they put in.”

Not ev­ery team is lucky enough to have a huge group of men­tors and lo­cal busi­nesses will­ing to sup­port their lo­cal high school’s FIRST Ro­bot­ics Team.

“This is a very costly pro­gram, but the Elmira com­mu­nity never ceases to amaze me how they get be­hind some­thing and they sup­port it 100 per cent. It’s great that we en­joy that.”

And he says the stu­dents def­i­nitely reap the ben­e­fits.

“For me to see kids on our team that have pretty much changed the ca­reer they’re go­ing to do and things they’re go­ing to do just based on this ex­pe­ri­ence alone, that for me is re­ward enough for all the work and why we do this.”


Wood­land Chris­tian High School’s FIRST Ro­bot­ics team, the Cy­berCavs, are off to St. Louis for the world cham­pi­onship af­ter a suc­cess­ful com­pe­ti­tion in Mis­sis­sauga over the Easter week­end.


Elmira Dis­trict Sec­ondary School’s FIRST Ro­bot­ics team earned a wild card spot into the world cham­pi­onships af­ter per­form­ing con­sis­tently well in dis­trict and re­gional com­pe­ti­tion. They haven’t been to worlds since 2014. This is the Elmira 4917 Drive Team and sup­port crew: Aaron Craw­ford, Ja­cob Fralic, Sam Maier (Coach), Jon Martin, Hay­den Fretz, Cam Sacrey, Jeff Tal­bot, and Tristan Devos.

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