What does it take to be a champion? A Brilliant Strategy, a lot of sportsmanship… maybe even a bit of luck! Well all of those qualities came to the test last weekend when 60 of the UK’s best Vex Robotics Teams went head-to-head to claim the title of National Champion. But at the end, it seems like a simple error may of turned into a major scandal.

This is the story of my team - MTS_Eclipse – and our experience of the big mistake at Nationals.

It was the endgame. The Tournament had been played and now the 2 best teams went off in a Best-of-3 finale. The crowd roared as both teams tried to gain as many points as possible in the short time. Robots clashed. Goals stolen. Points taken. The anticipation of who would win was immense. Then the time ran out and the robots stopped Dead. But it wasn’t over yet. The judges began counting all the goals, rings, the elevation of any items on bridges, anything that could earn a team points. We, in the crowd, couldn’t tell from afar as the point difference was tiny. Soon the Judges nodded and the Host declared on the microphone:

“170 to the Reds and 160 to the Blues!”

The whole crowd stood up and cheered in amazement. The Tournament champions had been found but there was still one more prize. One more that was just as prestigious – the Excellence award. This was given to the best team overall, meaning that you had to do well in the Tournament; have a gool solo (Skills) run, have a good engineering sketchbook and generally have a good sportsmanship. The only teams that cannot get it are the Tournament Champions in order to make it fair. There are 2 excellence winners – one Middle School award and one High School award. While the High School award was given well, the middle School award was where the trouble began.

The Host called out “10173Z – HBS Incredibots!”, but there were no cheers this time. Just Confusion. Everyone knew the Incredibots, they were a High School team, they weren’t allowed to get that award. But instead of changing the winner, the Host insisted on the team to take it. What followed after was a flurry of questions.

Why would they of got it?

Aren’t they too old?

Was it to save the embarrassment?

Who is the actual winner?

After a few minutes, some officials apologised for the mistake and assured everyone that the situation would be sorted out but now it has been 4 days since the event and no changes have seem to be made. Questions have been going of who is the true winner and whether there was something more mysterious behind the sudden event.