CSM’s Talons Crush the World VEX U Competition, Rank 11th in World

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.

The College of Southern Maryland (CSM) Talons arrived at the VEX U World Robotics Championship in Louisville, Kentucky April 24 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.

At the end of the four days of skill and elimination rounds, the Talons lay claim to being the 11th overall college robotic team in the world. During the skills rounds, where a team has one minute to show off its skills, the Talons not only placed 11th in the world, they placed fifth in the United States. One of only three community colleges to earn a spot at the VEX U World Robotics Championship, CSM Talons were one of two community colleges earning global recognition.

“We went in and did exactly what we planned to do,” shared 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 there [at elimination rounds] to beat University of Southern California (USC),” he added, about the 2019 sixth-ranked USC team. And defeat them they did in the first round of eliminations, 21-17.

In the second round of eliminations – or first round of quarterfinals – the Talons faced the third-ranked XJTU4 from China, who were 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,” Balazs explained.

Only 10 of the 16 teams in CSM’s division to qualify for the elimination rounds were from the USA. The CSM Talons were the only community college in their division to make eliminations 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 were among the top 16 VEX U teams in the world for 2019.

“They crushed it,” Cleary said of the team’s 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.”

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.

The CSM Talons and Robotics Club promotes the study of STEM fields (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) including robot design and programming, competing at several VEX competitions, and volunteering at the competitions that CSM hosts for elementary, middle, and high school teams. For information on the CSM Talons and Robotic Team, visit http://stem.csmd.edu/events_csmroboticsVEX.html

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