Tournament referees (top row) refereeing the Robot Courts with competitors from Claremont Secondary, Victoria, Brentwood College, Mill Bay, and Highland Secondary (NIDES 7842). Screenshot, Comox Valley Schools

Tournament referees (top row) refereeing the Robot Courts with competitors from Claremont Secondary, Victoria, Brentwood College, Mill Bay, and Highland Secondary (NIDES 7842). Screenshot, Comox Valley Schools

Comox Valley students excel at robotics competition

Some students will compete in virtual world championships this May

Comox Valley Schools hosted the Vancouver Island Vex Robotics Regional Championship virtually via Zoom March 6. The winners advance to the Vex World Championships.

Among the 20 Island teams participating, the 7842 NIDES teams won three of the four spots to worlds, taking the top three spots in the Robot Skills Challenge, as well as four additional judged awards.

Team 7842A consisting of Zane Henderson of Vanier and Joel Saunders of Highland won second place.

Team 7842M consisting of Logan McCoy, Nicholas Horel and Andrew Phillips — all in Highland’s ENTER 2 program — took third place as a middle school team.

Both teams will also advance to the world competition.

RELATED STORY: Two Valley school teams heading to VEX Robotics World Championships in U.S.

Team 7842B members Theo Lemay and Sawyer McClellan of Vanier won the Excellence Award trophy and scored the highest points of the tournament (227 out of 252). They placed second overall in B.C. and seventh Canada-wide, earning a berth to worlds.

“It was a uniquely held event this year. The students and coaches stayed in their respective home schools and competed remotely,” said Steve Claassen, career co-ordinator and tournament organizer and host.

“The Comox Valley continues to produce brilliant engineering and robotics students that are very competitive on the national and world stage.”

Claassen attributes the success of these students to the teachers offering specialty programs such as the ENTER program (NIDES), Physics and Engineering, Electronics/Robotics, Creative Collective and Makerspaces in the schools, along with dedicated parents that support their children’s education.

NIDES 7842 coach Kemp Currie credits the co-ordinators, coaches and volunteers who have made this memorably unique season such a huge success.

“It’s gratifying to have so many 7842 alumni returning post-grad to assist and mentor those who now follow in their footsteps, in particular, Jeremy Lyster, Andrew Gair, Teagan Parkin and Evan Claassen, who sacrificed their days off to remotely referee for us at this and our previous weekend tournaments,” said Currie.

“Thanks also goes to Dr. Stewart Savard and Nicolas Parlee who remotely judged the awards, as well as Nick Ward, our head ref this season.“

In non-COVID times, VEX Worlds are held in Louisville, Ky. in April.

This year, the tournament takes place virtually May 17 to 22 via Zoom.

Comox ValleySchools

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The Highland all-female team, Team-K, consisting of Sophia Vaillant, Katie Brown and Tarn Blakely, won their second Amaze Award trophy of the season and finished 7th with an impressive 142 points. Photo by Comox Valley Schools

The Highland all-female team, Team-K, consisting of Sophia Vaillant, Katie Brown and Tarn Blakely, won their second Amaze Award trophy of the season and finished 7th with an impressive 142 points. Photo by Comox Valley Schools

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