When Michael Moore, Kevin Reid and Antoine Trabulsi started the Our Lady of Lourdes Catholic High School robotics team fifteen years ago it was only a dream to make it to the finals of the FIRST Robotics World Championship - let alone to win it all.
Yet with the odds stacked against them, this past week FRC Team 2609, BeaverworX, were part of the winning alliance to win the FIRST Robotics World Championship in Houston, Texas – representing the country as the only Canadian team in the finals.
“We are humbled to be there and to win,” shared Moore, founder and lead instructor of BeaverworX. “It was amazing. There were approximately 50,000 people there cheering on every team.”
Held only once a year, the FIRST Robotics World Championship welcomes over 600 teams from near 60 countries to compete for the grand title of World Champion. Teams are required to qualify through regional competitions in order to compete at worlds. This year, BeaverworX ranked 13th in the province – landing them within the top 23 who head into worlds after winning quarter finals, semifinals, placing 4th in the science division in district championships at FIRST Robotics events hosted at University of Waterloo and McMaster University.
At worlds, BeaverworX’s won ten matches with their alliance, made up of two entries from California and one from Illinois, and then four more playoff matches to win the Hopper division. They then moved on to win two matches in the Einstein Field at the FIRST Robotics World Championships, before heading to the finals.
“I would think the most amazing experience was coming back from Einstein's ring and all of the Canadian teams were there just cheering us on - it is a very tight knit community, we are very supportive of each other,” shared Moore. “To be in the company of such great teams and to still win was awesome, I'm just very impressed with the kids performance and their work.”
Among the team members competing in Houston was driver and team captain, Dominik Wrobel. For the grade 12 student, finishing off his high school career with a World Championship title was nothing short of a dream come true.
“It feels awesome to win on my last year. I can’t imagine how the rest of the team is feeling - especially the mentors who have been working towards this for the past 15 years. Its awesome to end it on a really great high note,” he said.
Wrobel is grateful to have been picked by their alliance, who brought a breadth of knowledge and experience to the alliance.
“Madtown (California) made it to Einstein’s the last four years in a row and won worlds in 2019, so they really wanted to win again,” he said.
“To be picked by a strong alliance really helped us get to where we were,” added Moore.
BeaverworX worked closely with the other teams about their strategy, going into each match with an extremely thought-out game plan.
“We had that consistent plan that we executed every single match so there were no surprises, no things that could go wrong there was a set plan that we stuck to all the way from our first match all the way to the finals. They were super supportive as well, after every match we had a team meeting to go through game strategy we were happy with how things went,” shared Wrobel. “I can’t believe we won by one point in the finals. It was so close; all the robots were doing everything they could and at the end we were all huddled together - it was just awesome to get the win.”
While the season is now concluded for the team and five of the twenty-two members are moving on to post-secondary aspirations, Moore is looking forward to next year – which since their win, they are guaranteed an entry into the 2024 FIRST Robotics World Championships.
“I want to double down and defend our title next year with more work, more effort, more everything.”