ausTIN CANs VEX team 2158K participated in the VEX Robotics Signature Event in Chantilly, Virginia in January 2019. What a tournament! There were robots from across the country, and they made for some amazing competition.
Signature Events are new in the VEX system, and this is the first one that ausTIN CANs members have attended. Team K qualified for the event by winning at the Houston Maker Faire in October, and they were in the company of several other tournament winners in D.C.
Traveling to a national event was interesting. The team planned ahead with their parent chaperones and everyone was excited to stay in the nation’s capital for an extra day of sightseeing/ college visiting. However, there was a small matter of an extended government shut down that interfered with the best laid plans. The venue (the National Air and Space Museum, part of the Smithsonian) was closed. In a logistical frenzy, the hosts were able to secure an alternate venue and the tournament was able to proceed. Sightseeing plans were scrapped, and K was just happy to have a chance to compete. Robot and tool boxes/ tournament supplies were creatively packed for air travel and off we went.
The tournament set up was amazing. An army of volunteers were serving as inspectors, judges, referees, hosts and presenters. Team members were able to meet other students from across the country, as well as some of the college faculty of the area schools. Pretty cool. One of the other teams was even able to meet for some late night practices at the hotel Friday night.
The robot’s performance was solid, which was great fun. But with an autonomous loss here and a repeated signal connectivity issue there… we missed out on some of those potential wins. The high level competition did not leave any room for error, and we watched our ranking plummet to the middle of the pack.
While we did not come away with any trophies, we did get some great experience and some new ideas to try out for our upcoming State competition. Hope to be back for this fun event next year!