TAS Teams Find Success at TaiVEX Tournament
By Lindsey Kundel, Director of Communications & Marketing
Congratulations to our upper school VEX robotics teams 4253B and 4253D on their success at the first competition of the season, TAI-VEX Tipping Point 2021, held in Taichung this past Sunday.
While other students were completing homework at home (or perhaps trick-or-treating for Halloween), ten upper school students and their coaches traveled to the American School in Taichung to show off their robotics prowess. Students met at 4:45 AM on Sunday morning to travel to Taichung, were greeted with nasal COVID-19 tests upon arrival, and competed all day, finally returning to TAS at 9:30 PM Sunday evening.
Although travel and testing look different now due to pandemic protocols, students and coaches alike were thrilled to be able to participate in an in-person competition again after a long tournament hiatus. The two teams are coached by upper school faculty members Dr. Carlos Delgado and Mr. Nick Steckler.
Both teams put up a great showing with Team 4253D winning the tournament outright and 4253B earning a semifinalist ranking. This is out of 16 participating teams and after a total of seven matches spread across three rounds. In this tournament, students first compete in qualifying matches, which result in a preliminary ranking. Then, teams select (or reject) team alliances before competing in elimination matches. The final stage of the competition includes the quarter-final, semifinal and final rounds.
Team 4253B "Raid Zero B" - composed of junior and sophomore students Ryan L., Andre C., Anderson H., Keehan T., and Jason Z. - ranked second in qualifiers and ended up on the first seed going into the final round.
In the end, this talented team was beaten (in a major upset) in the semifinals by our own TAS senior team, Team 4253D.
This senior team, 4253D "Raid Zero D", composed of William H., Will K., Glen L., Eric L., and Charles L., was the fifth-seeded ranked alliance going into eliminations and ranked 7th in the qualifying round. This is the first tournament win for this team.
The senior team was especially pleased with this outcome because many of the students have been on a team together since Grade 8 and have not ranked this high before.
According to Tech Cube Director Matt Fagen, though this team has no previous wins on their record, they are a true testament to the power of perseverance and grit.
Dr. Delgado was both surprised and pleased by the results. "The first ranked alliance between AST and the TAS junior team seemed unstoppable," said Delgado. "It seemed that they would win the tournament - and easily. But there is a reason why the games are played, right?"
It's an important reminder to all of the members of our community that it's never over until it's over.
"The tournament was a great experience for both teams and 4253B will surely learn from this upset," said Delgado. "They have a neat bot and I look forward to seeing how they improve over time."
TAI-VEX is an annual tournament open for middle and upper school teams offered at the American School in Taichung as part of the larger VEX Robotics organization.
VEX Robotics describes itself as "educational robotics for everyone," spanning all levels of both formal and informal education with accessible, scalable, and affordable solutions. Beyond science and engineering principles, VEX encourages creativity, teamwork, leadership, and problem solving among groups. According to its website, it allows educators of all types to engage and inspire the STEM problem solvers of tomorrow.