"Super Regionals" -- 2 Division Tournaments

Today was the British Columbia VEX Championships, held at the BC Institute of Technology, in Burnaby (a suburb of Vancouver).

The VEX Commmunity in BC and Washington State has grown rapidly over the past three or four years. Heading in to this tournament we knew we would have in excess of fifty teams, and that it would be the final major event for this season in the region, following up on excellent tournaments in Redmond (twice!), Vancouver and Courtenay.

We knew many teams would be veterans, including several teams who had been to the World Championships already. Many of the teams were in their rookie year this year, and at least four of the teams were complete rookies, attending their very first tournament.

We split the teams into two divisions… Div A for experienced teams, teams who had won awards at previous events this year, and teams who have had sufficient success or resources that they believed they should be competing at the top level of competition… and Div B for teams that are still developing their skills. Each division was run as a seperate tournament… 24 teams in A, and 30 in B.

This required a fair bit of extra work… not to mention four playing fields (plus one for skills challenges and two for practice for a total of seven!) and two complete sets of volunteers, AV equipment and field control systems. The volunteers, judges, set-up and take down crew, and particularly our tournament director… were awesome.

It was really exciting for me to see new teams getting to be alliance captains, and advancing through the eliminations in Div. B, while still getting to enjoy the classic battles between Gladstone, Exothermics, DT, Cambie and a few of the “new veterans” in the A division.

In the off-season the coaches and tournament organizers will be sitting down and looking at the successes and challenges of continuing this experiment… but my initial impression is that it was a huge success. There was no less joy for the teams that won the B division for it being the “B” division… in fact, I think there was more… because the teams in A all have won before… but the winners in B were doing it all for the first time!

If you’re planning events for next year, and have enough teams to pull off a “super regional” (to borrow a term from FRC)… why not consider it?


I will forward this on to Texas coordinators. We have over 120 teams in Texas and running a tournament just for veterans is a great way to share the excitement. Thanks for sharing

Elegant way to put it.

I think what may have been interesting would be to see how the divisions fared against each other, for example to have the winners of the two divisions play each other, because more than once I’ve seen very capable rookie teams… ;]

Just to be clear, this wasn’t actually a single large tournament with two divisions, it was two separate events held on the same day at the same venue. Each event had its own fields and judges, participation lists and winners.

Just from observing the competition, the Div.B champions could have possibly made it to the semis in Div. A. Possibly… you’ve got to remember that the two finalist alliances in Div.A were led by teams with scores of 131 and 130 in the driver challenge competition and two year’s experience representing our region at World Championships. Somewhere between 30-40% of the teams in Div A had already qualified for Dallas prior to this event. The teams in Div.B were good… but the teams in Div.A were GOOD. So yeah… there was some overlap between the lower ranks of Div.A and the upper ranks of Div.B… but everyone in Div B has had a chance at four tournaments already this year to play against the Div A teams… and could have chosen to do so again if they had wanted to.

However, there was no shortage of “rookies” in Div. A… depending on how you define “rookie”.

As an example, every student on teams 1346A,B,C,D and E was playing VEX for their very first time this year. The alliance led by 1346C took the eventual Div.A champs to three matches in the semis, and had an opportunity to stage an upset before a stripped clutch left 1346C spinning in circles for most of the match.

But while the students were all in their first season of VEX, 1346 as a group is hardly a rookie “team”, with seven seasons of FRC experience, a dedicated VEX practice field in the back of the shop, a case of FRC, FTC and VEX trophies in front of the shop, and a good selection of VEX resources on which to draw. Indeed, 1346 was the first team to import VEX components in to British Columbia and has qualified teams for Dallas the past two years… but the students were all VEX Rookies.

There were also several “veteran” teams and players in Div. B. The idea wasn’t to seperate teams based on experience, alone, but rather on the basis of their success. We wanted to see teams who had never got to captain an alliance, or advance through eliminations, get a chance to experience what it feels like and develop a bit of a taste for it.

I think they liked it. :slight_smile:


Were the skills challenges combined? Or was it Div.A only? (referring to your post on the Clean Sweep forum)

Did 10Q also score 130 on robot skills? That’s insane. Perhaps Redmond will be able to host a competition to that scale next year.

You said you have an FRC team? Will you be at the Microsoft Seattle Regional this coming week?

The event organizer only ran one set of Skills Challenges.

You bet! We wouldn’t miss Seattle! Just look for the robot with the hockey sticks and people with the red “1346” shirts.