Eight middle school teams and four elementary teams qualified for Worlds at the VEX IQ Iowa State Robotics Competition Saturday at Thomas Jefferson High School.
“It was a fantastic tournament,” said Christy Arthur, co-coach of Junior Jackets Robotics. “Overall, the students did very well. Almost every team improved greatly from the last tournament they competed in. The elementary teams, especially, made fantastic improvements. ”
Various skills are needed to do well in robotics, Arthur said.
“Driving a robot is not easy at all,” she said. “With a little practice, it all comes down to quick decision-making.
“Some of the more complex robots could shoot the balls up – either with a flywheel mechanism like a pitching machine or a catapult. The other robots were more simple (and) corralled and pushed the balls into the goals. The teams that did the best were able to either both shoot or utilize teamwork and push the balls to the shooting robot. You could feel the excitement in the air! ”
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Middle school teams that qualified for Worlds included the following:
• The Infinite Storm (Wilson Middle School) – won Excellence and Teamwork Champion awards
• The Firewall (Wilson) – won Robot Skills Champion and Teamwork Champion awards
• Immortal Hornets (Wilson) – won the Amaze and Teamwork Champion awards
• The Stingers (Wilson) – won second-place Teamwork award
• The Jedi (Kirn Middle School) – won third-place Teamwork award
• Wilson Robotics (Wilson) – Judges award and third-place Teamwork award
• The Hive 2.5 (Wilson) – won Design award
• The Killer Vees (Wilson) – won the Innovate award
Elementary school teams that qualified for Worlds included the following:
• Baby Yoda (Franklin Elementary School) – second-place Teamwork award
• Soaring Eagles (Edison Elementary) – second-place Teamwork award
• Super Stingers (Carter Lake Elementary) – Design award
• The Buzzy Bots (Roosevelt Elementary) – Excellence, Energy and Teamwork awards
Other elementary teams that won awards included the following:
• Rue Roadrunners (Rue Elementary) – Judges award
• Angel Stars (Carter Lake Elementary) – Think award
• I Go to College (College View Elementary) – Sportsmanship award
“The smallest successes were celebrated with fist pumps and little shoes launching their owners into the air,” Arthur said. “There were some cases of nerves, a couple tears as worry set in, but they fought through them and completed their tasks beautifully.
“This was the first competition for some students,” she said. “Others had only competed once before. (Some) coaches were new, too. Everyone simply got out there and did their absolute best. These kids were so supportive of one another, offering to help code, fix or lend parts whenever needed. All in all, it was a fantastic day. ”
Two Wilson teams – The Hive 2.5 and The Killer Vees – qualified for the CREATE US Open Robotics Championship at a previous competition. Middle school competition for that event will be March 31-April 2 at the Iowa West Field House in Council Bluffs.
Middle school and elementary school competitions will be held May 8-10 and May 11-13, respectively, at the VEX Robotics World Championship, presented by the REC Foundation and the Northrop Grumman Foundation, at the Kay Bailey Hutchinson Convention Center in Dallas.
High school robotics teams, which were not included in Saturday’s competition, will meet on Saturday, March 12 at the VEX IQ Iowa State Competition in Des Moines. High school teams that qualify will compete May 5-7 at the VEX Robotics World Championship in Dallas.