The Vexmen of Brandywine Robotics

Past Season Event Results


The 2010 – 2011 season was a complete success for the Vexmen. We grew in size to over 100 middle school kids, had an awesome facility dedicated to robots from the school district, played in 11 different events over the year, and won big at World Championships – winning three awards including the overall award in the Excellence Award for Team 80 – Nightcrawler, the Think Award for Team 81 – Gambit, and the Teamwork Award for the Vexmen Club.

Downingtown Area Robotics TeamThe 2010 – 2011 World Champion Vexmen

The first few competitions in the fall, teams were still building and tweaking their new robots. Some teams started with their previous year’s robot and then started anew after DC Knights fall match. By the new year, most teams were starting to be cmpetitive with some creative robot designs.

These middle school teasm went head to head against high school teams again and again through the season. Not only did they do well, but won many awards. We finally got our excellent t-shirts for the last two local matches at DC Knights and PA Eastern Regionals at Downingtown. Then we really looked like a cohesive and formidable team.

At World Championships, we sent seven teams making Downingtown the largest contingent for the Middle School division. One of the all-girl teams, Team 80 Nightcrawler received the Excellence Award, the highest award presented. Team 81 Gambit won the Think award for their multilevel autonomous and their extensive use of sensors, this is the top programming award given.

Three of the Downingtown teams placed in the top 50 out of the over 100 Middle School teams that were at Worlds from 16 countries. Team 80 Nightcrawler ended up being sixth, but were chosen to be in the #3 alliance. Team 92 Juggernaut finished 29th and Team 23A Phoenix finished in 50th. A very good showing for 92 and 23A’s first trip to the Worlds. Team 81 Gambit finished 59th and were chosen by the number 7 alliance. While Team 82 Wolverine, Team 84 Cyclops and 96 Professor X didn’t fare as well, they had a great time.

The remaining teams that attended the PSU Abington fire fighting event took home first, second, and third places. This competition was a bt different with new robots needing to be built in a 12″ x 12″ x 12″ size and can only work autonomously to find and blow out a candle in a maze. The Awesome Tacos took first place, Ostrap Connection, second, and Team Walrus took third. Lady Deathstrike received the create award, and Awesome Tacos was awarded the Create Award.

The game was called Round Up and robots had to get rings onto posts on the floor and the walls. Additional bonus could be had if your robot could climb a ladder in the middle of the field. The interaction was intense and the kids learned not only about programming and building, but competitive gamesmanship.
[spacer size=”5″] [heading]2010 – 2011 Vex Round Up Events[/heading] [spacer size=”5″]

9/25/10 Chichester Event
Team 81: Gambit – Excellence Award
Team 96: Professor X – Tournament Champion
Team 90: Lady Deathstrike – Design Award
Team 84: Cyclops – Build Award
[spacer size=”5″] The Chichester event allowed the teams from 2009 – 2010 to try out the new game. Some used their robots from summer or the previous year on roundup. Team 81 came out with a strong start winning the excellence award and team 96 was the tournament champion.

Full review of Chcichester[spacer size=”5″]







10/9/10 DC Knights
Team 81: Gambit – Tournament Champion
Team 81: Gambit – Programming Skills Winner
[spacer size=”5″] The second event of the year had five teams come with robots. This was the week after the initial meeting where we expanded to a lot of new members. Team 81 had a great day winning two awards. They were a part of the winning alliance and won the programming skills award. They were the first team to have a successful autonomous program too. Most high school teams had not gotten that far.

Event report
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11/20/10 Downingtown Fall Classic
Team 80: Nightcrawler – Excellence Award
Team 81: Gambit – Tournament Champion
Team 23A: Phoenix – Tournament Champion
Team 98: Wolverine – Amaze Award
[spacer size=”5″]There were two events going on this day – one high school and one middle school. All in the Downingtown Middle School cafetorium. The newly expanded club had robots from all the teams competing in round up.

Nightcrawler won the Excellence award with their 4 bar linkage and polycarb claw. Teams 81 and 23A teamed up to be tournament champions here.[spacer size=”5″]



12/9/10 PSU Abington Scrimmage
[spacer size=”5″]This was a scrimmage held at PSU Abington Campus where teams could play as many matches as they could fit in the day. Some teams played 13 different matches and everyone worked on their robots more adding new features.[spacer size=”5″]


1/22/11: Dockbots 2011
Team 80: Nightcrawler – Judges Award
[spacer size=”5″] Christopher Dock Mennonite School held this event on a cold January day. Competition from teams from Maryland, New Jersey, and area high school teams from DC Knights, Haverford School, and Radnor competed hard with the Vexmen.[spacer size=”5″]



































2/12/11: The Souderton Vexperiment
Team 92: Juggernaut – Tournament Champion
Team 80: Nightcrawler – Drivers Skills Award
Team 98: Wolverine – Judges Award
Team 23A: Phoenix – Design Award
[spacer size=”5″] This was Souderton’s first event and held at their new high school facility. It was a rousing success with Team 92 Juggernaut coming away with the tournament champion. Team 80 won the drivers skills competition this event driving away with 56 points.

Team 98 wowed the judges into a Judges Award while team 23A’s clean build and wiring won them their first of a few design awards.[spacer size=”5″]






















2/26/11: DC Knights Middle School & High School Qualifiers
Team 84: Cyclops – Excellence Award
Team 23B: Sabretooth – Tournament Champion
Team 82: Beast – Tournament Champion
Team 92: Juggernaut – Tournament Champion
Team 96: Professor X – Tournament Champion
Team 23A: Phoenix – Build Award
Team 23C: Quicksilver – Build Award
Team 23D: Colossus – Amaze Award
[spacer size=”5″] The DC Knights spring event had the vexmen split into two divisions. Teams already qualified for worlds competed in the high school division while everyone else competed in the middle school division. That did not seem to matter to teams 92 and 96 as they competed to win the tournament champion of the high school division while 82 and 23B teamed up on the middle school division.

Some teams some of the harder lessons of competition when they did not plug in their robot not once but twice. It’s all part of the learning experience.[spacer size=”5″]



















3/19/11: Eastern PA Regional At Downingtown
Team 90: Lady Deathstrike – Tournament Champion
Team 23A: Phoenix – Build Award
Team 23C: Quicksilver – Judges Award
Team 81: Gambit – Inspire Award
Team 80: Nightcrawler – Think Award
[spacer size=”5″] In the final match of the season, Downingtown competed with high schoolers to take five awards. Team 90 teamed up with the Joneses and won the tournament. It was a beautiful day and this was our team photo shown at the top.

Radnor’s Peter Panda robot was driven to a perfect 117 points in the drivers skills competition. A feat only topped at worlds by the world champion who also hung from the ladder.
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Vex World Championships
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The Vexmen – Team Award
Team 80: Nightcrawler – Excellence Award
Team 81: Gambit – Think Award
[spacer size=”5″]The Vexmen came with seven teams to the World Championships held at Disney’s ESPN Sport Zone in Orlando, Florida. We were a commanding presence with seven teams in the middle school division. Our professional banners, great t-shirts, rubber arm band give aways, and grouped booths overlooking the HP Arena stands created a spectacle other teams will have to try and top next year. This no doubt helped us win the Teamwork Award.

The teams competed their hearts out. Some had mechanical issues with the new high strength motors while others had success.
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PSU Abington's Event (a Robotics Competition Festival - Robo Fest!)
First Place – Awesome Tacos (Quicksilver)
Second Place – Team Ostap
Third Place – Team Walrus
Innovate Award – Awesome Tacos
Create Award – Lady Deathstrike
[spacer size=”5″] Steve took five Vexmen teams not going to Florida to this event. We had three robots out of the five that went putting out the candles. These robots are autonomous, not driver controlled.

The Awesome Tacos put out the candle twice and took 1st place! The Ostap Connection took second place with one candle thwacking! They also blew the judge away with a detailed engineering notebook. Team Walrus took third with one flame find-and-destroy of their two runs.

Both Awesome Taco and Lady Death Strike received Innovate/Create awards. This is also the best showing ever by Downingtown teams at the Firefighting competition.[spacer size=”5″]







Downingtown Area Robotics Wins Vex Middle School World Championship

Team 80, a Robotics Vexmen girls team from Downingtown Area Robotics, won the highest honor at the 2011 Vex Robotics World Championship at Disney’s Wide World of Sports Complex in Orlando April 16. Team 80 and its robot, Nightcrawler, received the “Excellence Award” which is given to the top performing team at the national competition.

Downingtown’s Vexmen teams competed against 104 of the best middle school robotics teams from 16 countries around world including China, Singapore, Mexico, the US and Canada. Over 570 teams competed in over 1,600 matches involving 10,000 students at the three-day competition.

Team 81 Think AwardThe club won three awards at the Vex World Championships – the most of any school across all divisions. These included the Think Award by Team 81 — Gambit — which honors programming skills, the Team Award given to the entire club, and the Excellence Award by Team 80 — Nightcrawler. Seven of the fifteen teams from the Downingtown Area Robotics qualified and made the journey to the Orlando for the competition.

Vex is the fastest growing robotics program and largest middle and high school competition in the world. The goal of Vex is to increase interest in engage kids in STEM education through robotics. The world championship marked the culmination of a season of competitions sponsored by Innovation First Inc. of Greenville, Texas, a maker of educational robotics systems.

Vexmen Win Team Award At WorldsRobots may only use parts from the Vex Robotics kit and robots must start within an 18 inch cube in size. The rest is up to the kids to think of how to build the best robot possible. This year’s game was called “Round Up” and is played on a 12-by-12-foot square field where alliances of teams compete against one another. Matches consist of a 20-second autonomous period where robots are completely controlled by the software written by the students, then a two minute of human-controlled period.

The middle school group of Downingtown Area Robotics has over 100 middle kids from both Downingtown and Lionville Middle Schools participating in robotics design to develop their knowledge of engineering and programming while competing in a fun competition. The Vexmen competed in nine tournaments throughout the school year winning many awards and events including competition from high school students in other schools.

Many of the 8th grade students in the Vex robotics program including the captain of the winning Team 80 are going to be attending Downingtown’s new STEM Academy in the fall. However, due to school district budget cuts and space consolidation, the team is currently looking for a new space to house the ever growing and world champion club. Dedicated parents form the basis of the successful club by educating and mentoring the fifteen Vex middle school teams and logging thousands of hours collectively to support the kids’ efforts.

The Downingtown Area Robotics group also mentors teams in high school via FIRST Robotics Competition, and elementary school students participate in Lego Mindstorm programs. The high school team is currently in St Louis, Missouri competing at FRC National Championship after having won the Philadelphia Regional competition at Drexel University earlier this month.


[heading]2011 – 2012 Vexmen Primary Events[/heading] [spacer size=”5″]
12/3/11 - PSU Abington Winter Scrimmage
Penn State Abington Campus Woodland Library, Abington, PA
In it’s fourth year, the PSU Abington Winter Scrimmage is the area’s premier scrimmage. With it’s unique “play as much as you can format”, teams that don’t have full fields can get 8 hours of serious practice and competition.

The Vexmen came in full force and played and built all day. As most teams did not have a working arm or claw yet, this provided the opportunity to get some crucial building done.

But that means you can’t drive what you have already built! Team 80N got in line again and again and again playing in 21 matches the entire day. The next closest team – 677 the Joneses of Montclair – played in 9. The kids got some robot driving practice and pushed game elements into the corners to score mainly. Some robots used a platform to roll game elements into the low goals, while some robots from other schools had robots scoring in the top goals. </div>
[spacer size=”5″] Most Matches Played: Team 80N – Nightcrawler
Judges Award: Team 80C – Cyclops
Something Out Of Nothing Award: Team 80B – Beast
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12/11/11 - Technomage Event
Technomage League Event at Kohelet Yeshiva School in Merion Station, PA
This is a Sunday Technomage League event at KYHS.
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1/7/12 - Technomage League - Norristown
Norristown, PA at Norristown High School
This was the first Technomage League event for most Vexmen teams. The morning build sessions and talks by Andrew and Steve helped kids learn about programming or proper gear ratios for their robots.

Many more robots now have functioning arms and grabbers. Teams 80C, 80N, 80P, and 80X all started really competing getting into more higher goals throughout the day. Other teams are just about ready with 81S and 81A about ready to debut their feeders. 81S has a twisted pneumatics tubing spring action you thought was a steel cable!

The TechnoMage league is one of 10 pilot VEX Competitions leagues authorized for this year. We are promoting a vibrant community where teams come together and participate in morning workshops on various topics like programming, mechanical design and competition strategy, and then compete through the afternoon.

We have several League days leading up to a final playoff where teams are recognized for their contributions, performance and have the opportunity to win one of three VEX World Championship slots in Disneyland in April!
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1/14/12 - 5th Annual Eastern PA Regional
Haverford, PA at The Haverford School
The Vexmen played extremely well at the PA Regional. An all girls alliance won the tournament. Teams 80N – Nightcrawler, 80X – X-23, and 2700A from the Baldwin School beat the alliance of teams 169Y, 169Z – both from the Haverford School – along with team 80C – Cyclops – from the Vexmen. The finals went to three matches with the Vexmen (Vexwomen) prevailing.

The Vexmen teams have all really improved in this week’s match. Team 80R – Rogue is scoring on the high goals consistently with its polycarb box lifter. They have also been one of the only teams to effectively use the negation barrel in matches. Team 80J – Juggernaut drove their way onto third place after the regular qualification matches. Their alliance with 80G and 80D – Darwin – took four grueling semi-final matches to decide the finalists.
[spacer size=”5″] Tournament Champions: Team 80N – Nightcrawler
Tournament Champions: Team 80X – X-23
Build Award: Team 80G – Gambit
Judges Award: Team 80N – Nightcrawler
Design Award: Team 80W – Wolverine
Amaze Award: Team 80X – X-23
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1/15/11 - New Technomage Event at KYHS
New!!! Technomage League Event at Kohelet Yeshiva School in Merion Station, PA
This is a newly added Sunday Technomage League event at KYHS. Since Vexmen high school teams were not competing on 1/14 at Haverford, this provided them the opportunity to play that week. In addition to Vexmen high school teams of 81A – Apocolypse, and 81S – Sabretooth, teams 80M, 80N, 80R, 80W, and 80X played in this Sunday league play.

Teams continued to really push their robots to the point where sparks flew and some motors blew. Team 80N unleashed their autonomous leading to 5 items scored in the high goal during the pre-programmed time. Other teams competing included the hosts KYHS, the Driven Bolts, Haverford School teams, and Cherry Hill East all competed in an afternoon of great matches.
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1/21/12 Dockbots 12
Christopher Dock School, Lansdale, PA
On a snowy day, the Vexmen came to play against some of the toughest competition in Vex. Maryland based Chadwick Robotics, and ACME robotics came to PA through a driving snow storm to make Dockbots a great tournament. Those teasm took soem of the top awards including Tournament Champion, Excellence Award, and Design Awards.

Teams 80R – Rogue – and 80D – Darwin – ended the qualifcations in 4th and 5th respectively with some great driving and robots really getting into a finished state. Other teams were not as lucky with mechanical wear and tear starting to rear its ugly head with 80N, 80X, and 81A all having some issues. But the play of Chadwick and ACME really showed the Vexmen what some top talent can do.
[spacer size=”5″] Tournament Champions: Team 80N – Nightcrawler
Amaze Award: Team 80N – Nightcrawler
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1/28/12 Technomage League Playoffs KYHS
Kohelet Yeshiva High School, Merion Station, PA
This is the final – Technomage League playoff. This was the first ever night Vex tournament

We were at the Kohelet Yeshiva HS, Marion Station PA. This was their thrid event hosted this year. They are a rookie team to Vex and could not have been better hosts. 34 Teams competed for slots to go to the VEX World Championships. (44 teams had competed in the league qualifying events)

Doors opened at 6PM. Since we had done alliance selections by E-Mail and phone all we had to do was inspect robots and have a drivers meeting. Promptly at 7:20, Head Referee Bob said 3-2-1 GO and we were off.

Since the Eastern PA teams are about 1/2 way through the competition season with ~400 matches played, the level of the robot’s ability was pretty high. Most robots at this point can collect and score multiple items at one time. We even had a wall bot to play defense.

There were a number of high scoring matches that took sudden downward turns with the negator barrel scored.

The preceding League days established a <a href=”” target=”_blank”>League Ranking</a>. We played on four fields and followed our policy of “last teams to play reset the fields”. We got very good turn times. Once we got into the semifinals we did have teams take timeouts to do repairs.

Team 169A and 169E from Haveford won the event with some impressive defensive skill and cooperative play. As Team 169E maneuvered in the interaction zone, 169A swept up all the available pieces behind them to score almost at will. This teamwork between robots shows what the power of two skilled robots and roboteers can accomplish. They earned their world qualification spots with impressive play and scoring over 20 points in all but one match.

Vexmen Teams 80G – Gambit – and 80J – Juggernaut – made it to the semi-final round needing a decisive third mach to be defeated by 1267B of DC Knights and team 101 of Radnor high School.

Build Award – 81S – Sabretooth
Amaze Award – 80R – Rogue
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2/4/12 PA State Championship
Delaware County Christian Academy, Newtown Square, PA
Top teams from the mid atlantic came to PA State Championships. 80 teams came and there were four fields running at once with skills running all day. It took 139 qualifying matches to get to 16 team elimination bracket. Team 80X – X23 – won the middle school Excellence Award and Team 80W – Wolverine – won the design award. Both awards qualify for the Vex World Championships. Teams 169A from Haverford School, Team 677 – The Jonses, and 12K from ACME robotics won the tournament as #3 seeds.

Since skills ran all day, there was a grudge match between top teams as they ran over and over again to top each other. Team 677 – the Jonses of Montclair Robotics – scored a whopping 32 points in the skills competition propelling them to #7 in the world rankings and 18 in programming skills. Other powerhouse teams such as 24C – Supersonic Sparks – and 3086Z – Cheese – gave them a run for their money scoring up to 29 points in drivers skills. Technomage league Excellence award winners 777B from Christopher Dock scored 25. DC Knights’ 1267A team scored 16 in the programming skills making them 15th in the world currently which should be good enough for a wrold championship spot.[spacer size=”5″]Excellence Award: Team 80X – X-23
Design Award: Team 80W- Wolverine
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2/11/12 Souderton Vexperiment 2

Souderton High School, Souderton, PA
Another weekend, another robot event. The Vexmen came to play at Sauderton in a split division match with high school and middle school divisions competing in a fun filled day. The smaller format event allowed robots to compete eight times each in qualification matches and then participate in a 16 team pair-based playoff.

Team 80G – Gambit – won the middle school division and took home an Excellence Award qualifying them for Vex World Championships in Anaheim, CA. Their robot has finally come together and they are a force to be reconed with. Their octogon holonomic base allows them to score the tall interaction zone goal while still in the isolation zone. This allows them to score without the other interaction zone robot shoving them out of the way. Their pair scored an impressive 33 points in one playoff round match.

Team 80J – Juggernaut – won the build award and 80H – Havoc – won the design award in the middle school division..