By Tommy Smeltzer
Two sub-teams from Chaminade’s Eagle Engineering competed with 39 other California teams at the CAMS/SMI Vex Invitational tournament in Long Beach, winning their way to tournament finalists, as well as taking home two judged awards including the tournament’s top prize. Team 1138-B, with drivers Michael Amoun ’13 and Anthony Gruppuso ’13 coached by Brandon Sezgin ’13, stayed near the top of the rankings all day, finishing fourth overall and securing a spot in the tournament quarterfinals. In the process known as “Alliance Selection” where top seeded teams pick an alliance team to compete with them in the playoffs, Team 1138-B picked fellow Eagle Engineers Team 1138-A. Team A, coached by Nathan Smeltzer ’13 with Drivers Freddie Burnett ’13 and Steven Paqueo ’13, provided a strong defense to 1138-B’s dominant offense and propelled the two into the finals to face a very tough El Camino Real team. ECR Team 404 prevailed, but the top prize of the day would still go to Chaminade with team 1138-A taking the Excellence Award. The Excellence Award goes to the team who excels in all areas of robotics competition, including tournament play, design, construction and programming of their robot, as well as community service, sportsmanship and presentation skills. Along with the trophy come qualifications for the Vex Robotics World Championships being held in Anaheim, CA in April 2013. With this qualifying win, Team 1138 will now focus its efforts on helping Chaminade’s four other Vex Robotics teams to qualify for a berth at the World Championships.