This weekend, five local elementary robotics teams competed in the State Robotics Tournament in Denver. Now, three of those teams will prepare to compete at the world level of competition.
The state tournament was an opportunity for local teams to interact with teams from across the state and to practice teamwork skills they have spent months developing.
Three teams from Ridgeview Elementary and two teams from Sandrock qualified for the state tournament after participating in the local tournament earlier this month.
“It’s all about hard work and teamwork,” said Ty Kuberry, coach from Sandrock Elementary.
Each team faced the exact same challenge, competing with eight teamwork skill matches against 24 teams from throughout the state of colorado. Those teamwork challenges played into their final score. Then they got to do their individual driving and programming challenges.
In their first year of doing Robotics, Sandrock fourth graders Drayce Claypoole and Xander Gott, from team Double Trouble, placed second in state in the teamwork challenge. This earns Claypoole and Gott an invitation to the Global Robotics Tournament in Dallas, Texas in May.
The Unbreakables, Diego Garcia and Kolby Smith from Sandrock Elementary, took fifth place overall and placed 12th in the skills score. Garcia and Smith are fifth graders who have been competing together as a team since third grade.
Teagan Siminoe (fifth grade), Oaklan Miles (fourth grade), and Melodie Francetich (4th grade) from the Lemon Launcher team received the Judges Award for their interview with the judges and overall showmanship during the tournament.
Craig Middle Schoolers Josephina Kuberry and Curtis Kuberry also qualified for state for the second year and competed over the weekend. Josephina and Curtis’ team We’re Back finished fourth out of 23 middle school teams, narrowly missing a worlds qualification.
“It was a great experience for them, they all worked really hard this year,” said Ty Kuberry, who is Josephina and Curtis’s father.
The teams who did not qualify for worlds will meet next week and disassemble their robots. The challenge for next year will be completely different, so they will start with a blank slate. Garcia and Gott will continue to meet after spring break to continue practicing skills and prepare for worlds.
“Both teams we took to state qualified for worlds, so we are really excited for them,” said Rhonda Counts, robotics coach and Project Lead the Way teacher for Ridgeview.
Danni Green (4th grade), Ella Fross (4th grade), and Rori Mahan (5th grade) from the Dragon Girl Bots team placed third in the state with their programming and driving skills, earning them an invitation to worlds. Dragon Girl Bots is a new team this year, so this is their first time competing and going to state and worlds.
“They worked really, really hard. And the work is tedious. They have to keep working at it and keep working at it until they get it. They were very dedicated and very diligent, ”Counts said.
Parx Nelson (5th grade), Lukas Dennison (3rd grade), and Kaden Kuberry (3rd grade) from the Triple Threat team won the “Think Award,” which is presented to a team that has implemented and developed quality programming as part of their strategy to solve the challenge.
“I love it when they get something like the Think Award, because it is really and truly the heart of the program. The goal of the program is to use engineering and programming skills, so when they get a special award for that, it’s huge, ”Counts said.
Triple Threat also placed in their teamwork and skills challenge, earning them an invitation to worlds in May.
Last year, one Moffat County team qualified for state and worlds, but both tournaments were held remotely. So this is the first year that students have been able to go in person. All three Elementary Schools have a Project Lead the Way program, which incorporates engineering and design. Robotics teams are optional groups that meet after school to practice and further develop their skills.
“It’s so nice this is an extension of what we’re doing in schools,” Counts said.