Robotics team 62B wins VEX Robotics World Championship

Members of school robotics team 62B embrace after winning the 2020 Live Remote VEX Robotics World Championship.

Claire Conner

The robotics team won the 2020 Live Remote VEX Robotics World Championship May 22, becoming the school’s first team to win a world championship. They beat 260 teams, who all qualified for the tournament after winning their regional competitions in 30 countries across the globe.

The team was divided into smaller groups throughout the season. Two of these groups made it to late elimination rounds within their subdivisions, and team 62B won the tournament.

Justin Sun ’22, a member of team 62B, said the team’s perseverance enabled their success.

“We are all very competitive, and as the driver and the programmer, I knew we were capable of winning it all,” Sun said. “After losing the first qualification match on the first day, we did not lose a single match until finals. Even when we were down 0-1 in the best-of-three finals, I remained calm and drove the robot to the best of my abilities because I wanted to win for my own sake, but more importantly, for my team.”

Robotics Team Coach and Math Teacher Andrew Theiss said that while the team’s tenacity helped them clinch the championship title, their ability to work strategically was the most important factor in their victory.

“Many teams put in hard work, dedication and wonderful engineering, but it was all that with the addition of strategy which enabled them to outsmart a rival who was known to be better skilled,” Theiss said. “Watching a team perform on a world-class level and succeed is truly a remarkable experience in its own right. Each of our teams has put in so much work, and I could not be more proud of each of them.”

After months of preparation leading up to the tournament, team 62B member Peter Shen ’22 said the victory was an exciting end to their suspenseful tournament week.

“We played against around 25 teams in our subdivision to start, where we emerged top of the subdivision,” Shen said. “We then faced off against another subdivision’s champion, making us division champions and top eight in the world. There were eight division champions who faced off in an elimination bracket until finals, and we were able to make it all the way to the end.”

Sun said that making school history to beat a world-record-setting team was an unexpected culmination of the season. He said it was proof that with talent and commitment, they could overcome unfavorable odds.

“Honestly, nothing will ever surpass the feeling of learning you are world champion,” Sun said. “It felt unreal. It still feels unreal. This year, 62B had no tournament victories. Before we returned a few months ago, we did not even think we would qualify for Worlds. None of us expected us to win; the best team 62 had ever done at Worlds was a fifth-place finish. No one in the VEX community even knew who we were, but we defeated the best of the best in the world to claim the crown.”