Guelph, Ont. high school robotics team dominates world championships in Houston

A high school robotics team from Guelph, Ont. is on top of the world.

BeaverworX from Our Lady of Lourdes Catholic School recently won the 2023 FIRST Robotics World Championship in Houston.

They were part of an alliance with two schools in California (Madera and Ventura) and one from Champaign, Ill., and were the only Canadian team to reach the finals.

“We were humbled to even be there,” said Michael Moore, Our Lady of Lourdes technological department head and lead of BeaverworX.

“I’m even more humbled to be working with teams that are larger, with much better robots, have been in it for 20 to 25 years, and have a budget four, five times of what we have.”

The FIRST Robotics World Championship competition has been around since 1992. More than 3,000 teams from 60 countries, 200 from Canada, compete for the world robotics title.

BeaverworX came into this year’s competition ranked 13th in the province. They had to first compete in regional meets in order to qualify for the worlds.

BeaverworX began in 2008 and started competing the following year. It wasn’t long until they were going up against other teams on the world stage.

“Over 50,000 spectators watching us perform on the field as an alliance was amazing,” said Moore. “The teamwork, and how everyone works together, was second to none.”

The robot, put together by students at Our Lady of Lourdes, works alongside three other robots from other teams in a series of tasks and demonstrations.

“We had that consistent plan that we executed every single match so there were no surprises,” said BeaverworX team captain and Grade 12 student Dominik Wrobel. “After every match we had a team meeting to go through game strategy. We were happy with how things went.”

While it was an exciting experience to be at the world championship, it can also be an expensive one says Moore.

“I had four mentors drive my truck down to Houston to save $3,000,” Moore said, adding airfare was $17,000 and hotels $6,000.

By winning the championship, BeaverworX get an automatic entry into the 2024 world competition. Moore said they are working towards defending their championship and hope to have an alliance with other Canadian teams.

“There are many great Canadian teams out there and it would be nice to be competing with them.”


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