Hi everyone

Friday was very long and tiring - and I was too exhausted to face the lobby internet room. Each of our teams had 5 qualifying matches to play plus the 2 Driving Skills, and 2 Programming Skills Challenges - both of which had huge lines waiting. We also had to try to be available in the Team Pit Area in case a Judge came by for an interview. The tournament matches went well for the most part, but we had some very poor alliance partners who did more harm than help and got in the way of the play. We also had to overcome issues with the intake mechanism as the new game balls were very slippery. The robots both had to have creative modifications made to combat this. We also had a motor burn out and had to do a rapid replacement before a match. By the end of the day the team was very tired and a little discouraged.

That evening at dinner we presented each of the students with a Silver Fern Award. This award originates from the military. It is a prestigious award, given to soldiers who have given significant service to their country. The Kiwibots NZ has been granted the power to select and award this to certain students for their service to NZ as a representative (in battle) overseas. The team has certainly experienced the sweat, blood and tears of hard battle over these last couple of years! It was great to acknowledge their hard work and dedication.

On Saturday they fixed their eyes on the goal and got back up to do battle again. With two qualifying games left it was important to win - which they did. The team 2921A were the first team selected, by the top team in our division, (from China) and later another NZ team (Kristin) was selected as the third team in the alliance parnership. Team 2921C was also selected to play in their divisions quarter finals alliances. They managed to get through to the semi finals of their division, which is a fantastic achievement - to be in the top 12 teams out of the 100 in their division. Team 2921A made it through the finals to become Division Champions, and then went on to compete against the champions of each of the divisions, This was a battle between the top 12 teams in the world.
During the day the Free Range Robotics Team was awarded trophies for the World Champion 1st Place in Web Design; World Champion Energy Award (for team enthusiasm and dedication) World Champion AMAZE Award (for innovative design, engineering and programming) World Champion 1st Place Division Tournament Champion. Our alliance team won each of the quarter and semifinal matches, and it came to the finals play off with China and NZ alliance against USA.
We won the first game by a good margin, and went on to play the second match (best of three). It was very tense as the competition was fierce and the score was close. The judges took an eternity to count up those scores but we were elated to win the second match and at last bring home the ultimate World Tournament Champion 1st Place Trophy. We have been so delighted to have the opportunity to represent NZ again at the World Competition, and want to thank all of you who have supported us along the way!
Massey will need to build a big trophy cabinet! We attended the Vex party after the tounament finished, and it was great to have a chance to just play and relax. When we brought the team out from the Conference Centre we had arranged a Stretch Limousine to take them to the Hotel, so they could travel in Champion style. It was a great way to top off a most excellent week.

We will look forward to seeing you when we arrive back in NZ on Tuesday 7:30am. The whole NZ contingent (about 120 of us - 12 schools) will arrive together. If you want to come out to the airport
and cheer us in we'd love to see you!