For Tauranga's Dean Strydom three times has been a charm after his overall win at the NZ VEX EDR Robotics Championships earlier this month secured his House of Science team a place in the world championships in April.
And while most enter a robotic-building team of two or three people – Dean entered himself and eventually won by making an alliance with two teams from Glenfield College to stymie the opposition.
House of Science national CEO Chris Duggan says for Dean, who an original member of the HOS robotics team, the glory is extra sweet.
“It was extremely rewarding for him to win his final New Zealand event before having to move onto the tertiary level VEXU competition.
“He's represented New Zealand at three previous world championships but had never won the NZ nationals.”
Samuel Gillies-Smith helped Dean build the robot. But it was Dean who programmed and drove it in the NZ VEX EDR Robotics Championships at Massey University's Albany campus earlier this month.
The competition had 90 teams each with their own robot – the House of Science Robotics Club entered three teams and a total of nine students.
Chris says all performed strongly during the qualification phase and after eight games each, they were ranked second, third and 16th out of 90.
“The ‘A' team ranked second – made up of Callum McLeod, George Feast, Jacob Church and Orion Thomas – was one of only two teams to make it through qualification matches unbeaten,” says Chris.
“This gave them opportunity to choose which other team they'd like to alliance with for elimination matches.”
And although a two-robot House of Science alliance would have been very strong, they made the strategic move of choosing a team from Kristin School so the Tauranga club would have all three teams in separate alliances – “meaning more chance of a House of Science team making it through to the grand final”.
The House of Science ‘B' team – of Samuel Gillies-Smith, Gaby Absalom, William Bruning and Samuel Cowan – unfortunately came up against Dean's robot in the quarter final.
“Although they put up a decent battle they were forced out of the competition by their more experienced clubmate.”
The ‘A' team was also knocked out in the quarter finals. But Dean made it through and with his alliance with Glenfield College eventually won the overall competition title.
Chris says Dean overall win has qualified a HOS team to produce and compete with a robot at the VEX Robotics World Championships in Louisville, Kentucky, USA, at the end of April.
“The team – mentored by Paul and Shane de Rijk – only has a few days to decide if they can attend the world championships in Kentucky, with some serious fundraising required if they do to meet the $3500 per person cost.”
For more information on how to support the House of Science robotics team, phone Carl Acton on 07 571 0711.