July 23, 2019

Talons Make Huge Waves at VEX U

VEX
At the end of the four days of skill and elimination rounds, CSM’s Robotics Team, the Talons, could lay claim to being the 11th overall college robotic team in the world.

When the College of Southern Maryland Talons arrived at the VEX U World Robotics Championship in Louisville, KY, on April 24, they were touting critical skills, well-made robots, and high hopes of bringing home the best results ever seen in the six years that the team has earned a spot to compete on the world stage.

Mission accomplished.

After four days of skill and elimination rounds, the Talons can now lay claim to being the 11th overall college robotic team in the world. In the skills rounds, where a team has just one minute to display its skills, the Talons not only placed 11th in the world, they placed fifth in the US. One of just three community colleges to earn a spot at the VEX U World Robotics Championship, CSM Talons were one of two community colleges that earned global recognition.

“We went in and did exactly what we planned to do,” said Talons team captain Michael Balazs. “We earned eight wins with three losses in the qualification rounds which propelled us into the elimination rounds. We were [at elimination rounds] to beat University of Southern California,” which is the 2019 sixth-ranked USC team. That defeat is exactly what happened: CSM beat USC in the first round of eliminations, 21-17.

Robotics Team

CSM Talons Competitive Robotics Team, including from left, Alex Johnson, George Jenkins III, Samsudeen Sarr, Julia Czecha, Hunter Bowling, Paul Goldsmith, and Michael Balazs competed in the VEX-U World Championship, earning CSM the title of 11th-ranked robotics team in the world.

In the second round of eliminations – which was also the first round of quarterfinals – the Talons faced the third-ranked XJTU4 team from China, which was last year’s world champion team. The Talons fell to China 15-12 in the last second of the match.

“We were winning 18 to 15 until they made an unexpected move in the last second of the match, canceling six of our points,” Mr. Balazs said.

Just 10 of the 16 teams in CSM’s division to qualify for the elimination rounds were from the United States. The CSM Talons were the only community college in their division to pass the elimination rounds and were one of five USA teams to make it to the quarterfinals in the Innovate Division.

According to CSM Associate Math Professor and Talons’ Faculty Advisor Jim Cleary, by making it to the quarterfinals, the Talons are now among the top 16 VEX U teams in the world for 2019.

“They crushed it,” Mr. Cleary said of the team members’ innovation and agility. “They were cohesive in their teamwork, committed to their skill set, and determined to push ahead of the rest. I couldn’t be more impressed with their performance and thrilled that they brought this status home to CSM.”

The CSM Talons and Robotics Club promotes the study of science, technology, engineering, and math fields like robot design and programming. Members compete at several VEX competitions, and volunteer at the competitions that CSM hosts for teams in elementary, middle, and high school. For information on the CSM Talons and Robotic Team, visit CSM online.

For more about the College of Southern Maryland, visit its Leader member page.

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