New Zealand Nationals 2014

This has been a truly incredible event. I really want to begin by saying a huge thank you to all the volunteers who ran the event, you did a great job. We stuck to the schedule, had loads of fun, and everything ran smoothly. I also want to say thank you to the sponsors of Kiwibots, us kids really do gain a lot through the VEX Robotics Competition and I know events like this are not cheap, we really are grateful for your support.

52 teams competed this weekend, from all across New Zealand. It was wonderful to see teams we generally don’t see in person, thank you all for coming up to Auckland!

I know the live stream wasn’t online yesterday, hopefully anybody following the event managed to find everything they wanted through RobotEvents/VEX Via, but if you do have any specific questions, I will do my best to answer them.

Rankings after Qualification Rounds (top 8):

  1. 2941A, 16 WPs, 216 SPs (8-0-0)
  2. 7682E, 16 WPs, 213 SPs (8-0-0)
  3. 5874A, 16 WPs, 179 SPs (8-0-0)
  4. 2915A, 15 WPs, 272 SPs (7-0-1)
  5. 2921A, 14 WPs, 268 SPs (7-1-0)
  6. 7682, 13 WPs, 206 SPs (6-1-1)
  7. 2941B, 12 WPs, 208 SPs (6-2-0)
  8. 7757Z, 12 WPs, 169 SPs (6-2-0)

Alliance Selection:

  1. 2941A, 2915A, 2915C
  2. 7682E, 7682, 2919M
  3. 5874A, 7757Z, 2908Y
  4. 2921A, 2941B, 2976C
  5. 5606C, 2901B, 5606A
  6. 2918D, 2911A, 2911B
  7. 2918A, 2915B, 2913A
  8. 2900A, 2921B, 2906A

I would go through every single elimination game, but I’m sure most of you just want to know the overall results so I’ll skip to those and if you want more you can either ask, or you can find everything you could want on RobotEvents/VEX Via. So here we go with the spots that qualify for the World Championships (5 spots):

**Tournament Champions: 2941A, 2915A, 2915C
Excellence Award: 5606A
Design Award: 2921A

Additionally, Tournament Finalists were 7682E, 7682, and 2919M, although sadly they do not qualify as finalists.

Robot Skills (Top 8):

  1. 2915A, 106 points
  2. 2941B, 88 points
  3. 2941A, 78 points
  4. 2915B, 74 points
  5. 7682, 73 points
  6. 2921A, 72 points
  7. 2918A, 66 points
  8. 7682E, 65 points

Programming Skills:

  1. 7682, 63 points
  2. 2911A, 52 points
  3. 2918A, 48 points
  4. 2921A, 31 points
  5. 2919M, 12 points
  6. 5874A, 11 points
  7. 5606A, 5 points

Congratulations to all the teams, for more information please see the RobotEvents page, or just ask here :slight_smile:

Not many people know or realise this, but today was in fact my last High School competition in New Zealand. It’s been sad for me to know that this day was coming but I am very proud of what I have accomplished and very grateful for the opportunity VEX and the Kiwibots have given me. A lot of people who know me have recognised how since I joined VEX, my confidence has greatly increased. I have moved on from being the kid that didn’t really fit in to the guy in robotics who has met plenty of great friends, learned a huge amount of knowledge, and I have learned a whole load of life skills through VEX. This has really changed my life in a great way. I want to say thanks to Free Range (#2921) for being a wonderful team, and a big thanks to Massey University and especially Johan Potgieter for supporting me from the very start, all those years ago.

This year I have been starting to move away from competing and more into a mentoring position. I am ever so proud of the teams in Christchurch I have been assisting online and in person (flying back down there soon!), they made it to Nationals which brought a big smile to my face. I’m planning to continue helping them, especially now that I have a bit more time (although I do need to focus on my final year of high school, getting the right grades for uni), and I look forward to seeing them grow further. I’m now also attending Long Bay College, so I will be helping their team out wherever I can.

Yesterday I had the most pleasant surprise when I was awarded the Mentor of the Year Award at the New Zealand Nationals, I’m really glad I was seated at the back of the stands because I was starting to get a little bit teary eyed once it all settled in. Really guys, thank you!! It’s time for me to move on from the High School competition. To me, VEX isn’t about winning big fancy awards, it’s about STEM Education, learning about robotics, creating the future engineers, and developing life skills for young people. That’s what I love about VEX, and I feel that it is time to give back to the programme that has given my all these opportunities. As I’m in my final year of High School, I will not be at school by the time the next season’s Nationals and World Championships come around, I will be at University then, and so this year I’m entirely focusing on mentoring and helping the next set of people coming into VEX.

Thank you VEX, Kiwibots, Massey University and to everyone who has supported me and given me such a wonderful opportunity. I would name all of you but I fear the page would take too long to load in your web browser :slight_smile:


Hi There,

It’s Steve (from 2915a) here, what a great competition it has been! Everything was so smooth and well run, very well done to the volunteers and organisers (AURA, AMESS, Kiwibots, Chris, I would go on but there are just too many of you…). Thanks to 2941A for the great alliance, you guys were great. To 7682, 7682 and 2919M for a great finals, very well done! The finals were really tough… I was nervous :stuck_out_tongue:

George, its been really cool having you compete here in NZ for the last 5 years?? Such long, much wow. We are all going to miss your fierce competition.

Once again thanks to everyone who helped run the event, and see you all at worlds! :smiley:

~ Steve

Congratulations George, a well deserved honor :slight_smile:

1 Like

Nationals. Tick. Level up.

George, it has been great getting to know you, especially in the past year or two. When I first started VEX in Clean Sweep, Free Range Robotics was the name of a team that was world-class and personally inspiring. I was so glad when you chose 1492A at Worlds last year, four years ago I would never have thought I would see the numbers 2921 and 1492 together. Congratulations on the well-deserved Mentor of the Year award and good luck in your future endeavors!

Before I even begin replying to this, I just want to make it clear that after 4 days of volunteering I am absolutely exhausted. If any mistakes are made, please understand.

As a volunteer for a few years now I want to comment on how smooth the event was run this year. There was very little stress on us and I think the whole mood of the event was much better because of it. Because I think I’m the first volunteer to post, I’d like to thank firstly all the teams for making it easy for us, Chris Hamling and the rest of the management team for organising everything so it did run so well, the other volunteers for all the great work over the weekend (and weekdays for some of us) and of course the Kiwibots sponsors, who without none of this would be possible- Massey University, Glidepath, Fisher and Paykel, Smales Farm to name just a few.

To Georgie, thank you. I’ve watched you grow since Clean Sweep, when we were competing against each other, to where you are now and I really cannot think of a way to describe it. To put it simply: very change, much amaze, wow. I know some of us volunteers hassle you a bit at times, but we know you know that it’s all in good spirit and it’s our way of saying that you are accepted as one of us. You fully deserved to win Mentor of the Year for all the work that you’ve done, not only in Auckland, but in the rest of the country. Your hard work has never gone unnoticed. I hope to continue to watch you grow (although maybe not in height). The best of luck that I can give from an unbiased perspective for worlds. :stuck_out_tongue:

Back to the competition now. The best thing about Nationals is being able to see other teams from around the country. Many people believe that Auckland is the powerhouse of the VEX competition in New Zealand. However, there is evidence contrary to this just by looking at the rankings. Feilding High Schools- 5606 (Feilding), Team Improvisation- 5874A (Wellington) were both in the top 10 at the end of qualification matches and chose their alliances. And of course Otumoetai College- 2941 isn’t based in Auckland either and have consistently been at the top of the competition since they began.

I wanted to specially mention Wingus and Dingus- 7682’s effort in Programming Skills. I was running one of the skills fields and their program completely blew me away, as well as everyone else who saw it. For teams around the world, you should be worried. This routine was extremely close to scoring more and all without repositioning. I hope I haven’t disclosed too much here, but I felt that this deserved special mention.

In terms of awards I felt all were well deserved. I can’t really go through every single award, but just some of the ones that stick out in my mind.

Teacher of the Year to David Aston- David has been around since the very beginning of robotics in New Zealand, he was even on the trip to Atlanta when we were investigating FRC. I feel that the VEX programme in New Zealand is the way it is because of the work you do. If there is one person always willing to stick up his hand and go out of his way to help, as a teacher, mentor, friend or fellow competitor, it would be Mr. Aston. Well done.

Volunteer of the Year to Hayden Wilson- I have known Hayden since we were in school together and he has grown and matured tremendously over that time. He has been to just about, if not all scrimmages in the past 2 seasons, probably more. I do not think it would be possible to run an Auckland event without him. He is an integral part of our competitions. You fully deserved it for the 3rd year in a row.

Excellence Award to Feilding High School (5606)- I think Chris Hamling has said in the past to look out for you, as great things were coming. Simply put, they have come and continue to do so. Although a new team, starting just last season, they have grown at an incredible rate. However, it’s not just the team that has grown it’s the entire region. As well as having 3 competing teams at this years Nationals, the team mentors several intermediate school teams, all from their own back pocket and parts.You have done more for the region than I ever could have when I was in charge of the University team there. You have put both Feidling and the Lower North Island on the VEX World map and should be extremely proud of yourselves for all that you have achieved.

I can go on much more, but I don’t feel it’s necessary. The event was great from all perspectives- from the feedback I heard. See everyone again for next seasons Nationals.

tl;dr: wow.

Awesome job George!!! Your team is has been so dominant throughout all of the Vex seasons! Thanks for your help and support to our team! You definitely deserve Mentor of the Year! My team looking forward to seeing you again at worlds!

Hi Jamie

Thanks mate for all the great work you have done and are still doing - much respect to you. It cannot have been easy keeping Shane on the straight and narrow. :smiley:

Otumoetai College, or “Oats” for short, has largely stayed in existence because we have been allowed to regularly compete in Auckland scrimmages, so we are very grateful for this. There are currently no other teams in our region that entered Nationals or that compete regularly, so we are completely reliant on travelling to Auckland monthly to test our robots in matches, interact with other teams and share ideas. Our home city, Tauranga, does not offer University level engineering courses, so all our experienced students have departed to Auckland or Palmerston North.

To Steve on 2915A Lynfield College, well done on Skills and Tournament wins. IMO your team were dominant and deserved to win. You have assumed the 2915A plates with distinction!

Totally agree with you Jamie on the performance of Wingus and Dingus robots, 7682. A couple of very clever young guys. Their autonomous runs were bordering on unbelievable, while their robots managed to be unique and very effective.

Finally, thank you to the AURA people, who don’t get a lot of the limelight, but who provide the bulk of the volunteers throughout the year.

Cheers, Paul

Big thumbs up to all the volunteers, especially those doing all the leg work before, during and after the event. Also thanks to Chris Hamling for all his work keeping VEX rolling in NZ.

Wingus & Dingus are 2 brothers and usually operate as a team but this VRC season ended up with 2 working robots around December and there’s always disagreement about who should drive so I let them both enter. Ethan 7682E continued the tradition of outranking his older brother Shaun 7682 which he started at the NZ FTC Ring It Up Championship last year.

Finals were great matches and 7682+7682E lost the first one by the narrowest of margins and if they’d managed to slightly lift 1 more large ball the outcome may well have been different. Thanks to 2919M for helping to put up a solid fight throughout eliminations and the final match! And of course congratulations to 2915A, 2941A and 2915C on their well deserved win. Best of luck for the World Championship event guys.

Q96 was the closest match with 2915A(4)+2976A(48) on red and 7682(6)+2901(49) on blue. Autonomous was a tie and driver control was also a tie. It was great to see such close results with wildly different robots.

Autonomous wins were a big focus for the 7682 teams and some hasty programming by 2919M helped our alliance continue this through the eliminations. Both Shaun and Ethan have a very strong programming background from many years participation in both FLL and RoboCup Junior where all operation is autonomous so the 15 seconds are always used wisely and play a role in initial robot design ideas.

I believe Shaun is happy to share his programming skills run so perhaps there will be a YT clip shortly. Not sure if he’s doing a post NZ Nationals reveal but I can tell you the current 7682 robot has so much unrealized potential. Also the 7682E robot only had 8 motors and no pneumatics and was a few SPs away from ranking #1.

Apologies for the delay with this post - Nationals finished on Sunday at 5pm, packout finished at 7pm, and then dinner finished around 9pm, and university started on Monday for us with 8am lectures so have been a little bleary eyed.

Some pretty amazing feats of engineering were on display this weekend, from Wingus and Dingus’ autonomous (still amazed at just how fault-tolerant it was) to the Finals where it really could have gone either way. It was a reasonably cruisy weekend; only a few “disasters” that were resolved quickly and probably unnoticed by the participants.

A big thank you to everyone involved in the competition, including the sponsors, volunteers, parents, and coaches, and most importantly the teams themselves! I have been involved in the program in NZ from the beginning, and it has been great to see the growth and development of many students throughout the years. In particular, congrats to George, David Aston, and Hayden for their well deserved awards. Thank you for the shoutout Paul, it means a lot to our volunteers =)

This is probably my last year of volunteering as I will (hopefully) be finished with uni at the end of the year. I might leave the sentimental post for another time. On a side note, AURA has a number of projects ongoing that are likely to produce results this year, so watch this space! And will we be at Worlds 2015? Also, watch this space.