Hey everyone,

After 28 hours of travel, having bags and robots inspected by wary security officers and stripping off at metal detectors, flying from Auckland, to Los Angeles, to Austin, and at last arriving at Orlando airport, we finally made it, all exhausted and completely not in our time zone. We've had a bit of excitement so far, we got lost on the highway (not our fault), got greeted by a charming snake on our doorstep at the hotel, almost ran over a frog on the driveway, watched jumping/climbing /wriggling lizards, saw two squirrels playing in the trees outside our rooms. We all slept in until early afternoon so we're feeling much better now. We went for a big grocery shop this afternoon and our stomachs are much obliged. The mosquitoes have had a good feed too! Millions of them around here. Tomorrow is prep at the "Worlds" so tonight we are going to get an early night.

From Isaac Harrold and those of the Free Range team in Florida.

Live webcasts: Family and friends can visit www.RobotEvents.com/championship for webcasts from all 7 fields, rankings, schedules and all event information.

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The 2011 New Zealand National Vex Robotics Competition was held over 4th – 6th March. It was a fantastic weekend in which 48 teams battled it out in a game called “Round Up”. There were some amazing robot designs and we enjoyed meeting and competing with teams from all around New Zealand. In particular we were inspired by the courage and tenacity of our Christchurch Teams who in spite of the hurdles found a way to get to Auckland to compete. You are real heroes!

As always the standard of robot design and build was high among our NZ teams, so the battle for dominance in the games was intense. Each team played 13 qualifying matches, and then the Finals games were played over best of 3 matches in each Quarter, Semi and Finals.
Five of the six teams battling in the NZ Finals are already qualified for the World Championship in Florida in April, so as you can imagine the robots were formidable machines driven by battle seasoned, passionate teams. The stakes were high and the pressure was immense!

We were so delighted and exhilarated to win the National Tournament Championship in an Alliance with two of our Free Range Teams and a team from Pinehurst School. This is the third year that the Free Range Robotics has won the NZ National Championship!

We hope to represent New Zealand at the Vex Robotics World Championship in Florida, April 14th – 16th. We are the current World Champions so it would be fantastic if we can defend and retain that title for NZ.

If you would like to contribute to the teams fundraising efforts please click here

Thanks from us all at Free Range Robotics!

Free Range Robotics had their last Scrimmage on February 26th 2011, before the National Competition on the 4th, 5th and 6th of March.. Our A team, (Ethan, Richard and Max) were up against our B team, (Terry, George and Rhiannon) in the finals. Free Range A was aligned with Avondale College and Free Range B were aligned with Lynfield College. After our first finals match the B team didn’t work for autonomous or driver mode. We lost that first finals match by quite a bit, Free Range A and Avondale College took out the first one. The second finals match was excruciatingly close, but whichever alliance won that match were crowned the champions for the scrimmage. Free Range B and Lynfield College won that last match meaning Free Range Robotics got the trophy back again Smile

Lets bring home the big one from Nationals!

Also a massive round of applause for our C robot, (Melissa, Aarone and Ben) for their hard work for getting a robot together in just a few days, good job guys!Laughing

Well they did it!  Free Range Robotics won the 2010 Vex Robotics World Championship! The Tournament was held in Dallas, Texas and the two New Zealand teams – Free Range Robotics (homeschoolers) and Kristin, along with Shangahi Luwan Activity Center from China, played against another alliance of three from the USA (one of them being a homeschool team who won last year’s championship). They won the first game of the finals by a good margin, and went on to play the second match (the winner being the 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 the teams were elated to win the second match and at last bring home the ultimate World Tournament Champion 1st Place Trophy.

Free Range Robotics were also presented awards for the World Champion 1st Place in Web Design, World Champion AMAZE Award (for innovative design, engineering and programming), World Champion Energy Award (for team enthusiasm and dedication) and also World Champion 1st Place Division Tournament Champion.

Team with Trophies

The team were also presented  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. Then Kiwibots had 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.

Interestingly enough there was another  Robotics Competition called  Best Robotics which was held at the same time, and that was won by homeschoolers also.

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.

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