Wild Goats earn pro­vin­cial spot

St. Cle­ments team lat­est wins earn spot in pro­vin­cial ro­bot­ics com­pe­ti­tion

The Woolwich Observer - - NEWS - VERONICA REINER

THE ST. CLE­MENTS WILD Goats, a lo­cal FIRST LEGO League ro­bot­ics team, emerged atop the stand­ings of a 24-team com­pe­ti­tion De­cem­ber 1 in Water­loo.

In­clud­ing all four di­vi­sions (ro­bot game, ro­bot judg­ing, pro­ject, and core val­ues), the Wild Goats fin­ished sec­ond over­all in the league event. Be­cause of its success, the team will be ad­vanc­ing to the On­tario West Pro­vin­cial Cham­pi­onships in Fe­bru­ary.

FIRST (For In­spi­ra­tion and Recog­ni­tion of Science and Tech­nol­ogy) LEGO League ro­bot­ics matches put to the test the en­gi­neer­ing skills of par­tic­i­pants in Grades 4 to 8. The com­pe­ti­tion re­quires an en­tirely au­tonomous ro­bot to com­plete as many tasks as pos­si­ble within a two-and-a-half minute time­frame. The ro­bot must be con­structed en­tirely by Lego Mind­storm tech­nol­ogy. The Wild Goats man­aged to fin­ish six chal­lenges in a row, earn­ing them the most points.

“The kids were so ec­static,” said team coach Ja­son Jantzi of the re­sults. “The ex­cite­ment through the gym and the whole arena was pretty wild. Peo­ple were cheer­ing, and an­nounc­ers were do­ing a play-by-play for the ro­bots, and they have cam­eras of the ro­bot pro­jected up on the screen. There were fans in the bleach­ers cheer­ing. It was pretty amaz­ing.”

Each team has three tries to rack up as many points as pos­si­ble – the high­est score in those three tries is a team’s fi­nal score over­all. On their third and fi­nal try, the St. Cle­ments Wild Goats earned 150 points, the most out of the 24 teams tak­ing part. The sec­ond place win­ner, the Ste­motics Apollo 55, came in a close sec­ond at 148 points, while third place went to an Elmira team, the Space Chick­ens.

The Space Chick­ens also fared well, re­ceiv­ing the Ro­bot Design award that rec­og­nizes a team that uses a me­chan­i­cally sound, in­no­va­tive ro­bot ca­pa­ble of per­form­ing the chal­lenge mis­sions con­sis­tently and au­tonomously. An­other lo­cal group, the St. Ja­cobs Su­per Stingers, came in 11th in the ro­bot game com­pe­ti­tion.

The re­sults were par­tic­u­larly re­ward­ing to the St. Cle­ments group, which formed a LEGO League team just a few months

ago. The group worked hard con­sis­tently, ramp­ing up their prac­tice sched­ule as the of­fi­cial game day neared. Al­though they are new­com­ers, their hard work re­ally paid off.

“We were new­bies,” said Jantzi. “But the kids re­ally took to it, and were very in­ter­ested – they learned a lot. I think they had a pretty unique design. We typ­i­cally [prac­tice] once a week, how­ever be­fore this com­pe­ti­tion it was more like a cou­ple of nights a week.”

The judges clearly took no­tice, as the Wild Goats also re­ceived the Ris­ing Star award that rec­og­nizes a team that they ex­pect great things from in the fu­ture. In ad­di­tion, they won sec­ond for the Cham­pi­ons award, which takes all di­vi­sions of the com­pe­ti­tion into ac­count.

“We’ve been friends for seven years, and we’ve al­ways called our­selves the goats, so we de­cided to go with the Wild Goats,” said Brook­lyn Al­paugh, a mem­ber of the team. “And we al­ways climb higher.”

The team is made up of eight bright young kids, in­clud­ing sev­eral sets of sib­lings, who pri­mar­ily met through school.

“We wanted to thank the D&D Au­to­ma­tion for all the help – like spon­sor­ship, the com­put­ers, and the boards,” added Con­nor Jantzi. “They also helped to pro­vide men­tors to our team.”

The LEGO League also nur­tures team­build­ing core val­ues and looks at how th­ese val­ues can be ap­plied to ev­ery­day life, in­clud­ing dis­cov­ery, in­no­va­tion, im­pact, in­clu­sion, and team­work.

The FIRST LEGO League On­tario West Pro­vin­cial Cham­pi­onship will take place on Fe­bru­ary 9 at the Univer­sity of Water­loo. For more in­for­ma­tion visit www.firstle­goleague.org.

[VERONICA REINER / THE OB­SERVER]

Eight kids com­prised the St. Cle­ments Wild Goats ro­bot­ics team, pos­ing in front of their ro­bot nick­named “Billy the Goat.” The group were friends years be­fore get­ting into ro­bot­ics. Team mem­bers in­clude Tyler MacDon­ald, Hud­son Jantzi, Con­nor Jantzi, Kayia MacDon­ald, Brook­lyn Al­paugh, Con­nor Cheng, Tan­ner Cheng and Beth Al­paugh.

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