Article by Sana Singru

On Wednesday, the 29th of November, four teams from ISM traveled to Taipei to compete in the robotics VEX Formosa tournament at TAS. These teams had been selected through a series of elimination rounds previous to this competition. The teams were referred to by the other schools as: 3818A, 3818B, 3818C and 3818D, of which the A and C teams consisted of seniors, and the B and D teams consisted of juniors.

The competition itself was the VEX competition of 2017-2018. This year’s game was called “In the Zone”, played in a standard 12 by 12 foot field. Each match was played by two alliances composed of 2 teams each. The aim of the game was to attain the highest score by moving mobile goals into various scoring zones and to gain the highest stack within each zone during a 15 second autonomous period and a subsequent driver control period.

In the past, the ISM teams have done very well overall and this year was no exception. The first day consisted of a series of qualifying matches between the 35 teams that were present. Throughout the day, teams could also do skills challenges in order to attain high rankings in the skills aspect of the leaderboard. By the end of the day, the overall team rankings, as determined by the practice matches, was relatively solidified. Gaining a good position on the leaderboard was crucial for the progression of the teams into the next round of the competition. When all of the qualifying matches had been completed – including some that took place the following day – the ISM teams were in very good positions: three of the teams were in the top 10.

The statistics that were gained as a result of these rankings – both in matches and in skills – played an essential role in the choosing of alliances on day 2. The team that was ranked first overall picked 3818D to be part of their alliance, while the team ranked 2nd picked 3818A. 3818C was chosen by an alliance as well, and finally 3818B had the opportunity to pick their own teams for alliances – as they were in a ranking that allowed them the luxury. Out of the original 35 teams that were present, 11 were cut.

Our four teams then progressed to the quarterfinals with their respective alliances. Unfortunately, 3818C and 3818B were eliminated in the quarterfinals, but the other two ISM teams continued to the semifinals. Both teams performed tremendously well and both teams advanced to the finals.

All the teams in the finals were from the IASAS schools and two of the ISM teams were on opposing ends, making the finals an especially gripping match to watch. The first round of the match came with an easy win for the alliance of 3818D, giving 3818A’s alliance a sharp dose of reality. The next round ended with a significantly closer end score. Nevertheless, the skill and superiority of 3818D’s alliance triumphed – resulting in them being announced as the winners of the tournament.

In addition to this exceptional win, the ISM teams also won a number of awards. 3818D, in addition to being tournament champions, won the “Amaze” award, as picked by the judges, while 3818A won the design award for their design notebook and the meticulous construction of their robot.

Overall, this year’s VEX Formosa Tournament could not have been more of a success with all of the ISM teams progressing to the quarterfinals and further. Moreover, on the skills leaderboard, all of the ISM teams were placed in the top five, clearly demonstrating the excellency of the teams this year. 3818D will also be seen progressing to the World Championships once the invite is extended to ISM. The Bearcat community wishes them the best of luck and congratulates all the teams that participated in the event.

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