Vex students reflect on experience at worlds


HANCOCK COUNTY — Hancock County has been well-represented at an international robotics competition.

Ten Hancock County robotics teams, from elementary to high school students, faced off late last month at the Vex Worlds Robotic Competition in Louisville, Kentucky. More than 1,600 teams from 43 countries competed at the robotics worlds championship from April 24-30.

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The following schools had teams compete: Greenfield-Central High School, New Palestine High School, New Palestine Junior High School, New Palestine Intermediate School, Montessori Science Academy and Geist Montessori Academy. Two home-schooled teams also competed. Each of those teams scored well enough either at state or another worlds-qualifying robotics event to earn a spot in Louisville.

Indiana had the more teams compete at worlds than any other U.S. state, a few county coaches said.

Students in the Vex robotics program are tasked to manipulate a series of objects in a room-size arena “pit” using their robots’ arms. The students drive the robots around the pit and score points based on how they handle the objects.

Greenfield-Central High School

Two Greenfield-Central High School robotics teams — Team 1115 A and Team 1115 B — won six out of 11 matches at worlds, said Julie Stoeffler, robotics instructor.

Team 1115 B finished 14th in the world in skills challenges, and they also received the “Think Award,” which is presented to teams that have “developed and effectively used quality program as part of their strategy,” according to Vex. G-C was one of six teams to win the Think Award in the competition, three of which were from Indiana.

“I enjoyed seeing all the different teams and their different concepts and ideas to accomplish the game,” said 1115 B team member Austin Robinson.

New Palestine High School

The Dragon team of New Palestine High School seniors made it to the quarterfinals at the worlds competition, said robotics instructor Dave Post. The team was also awarded the Think Award.

New Palestine Junior High School

New Palestine Junior High School Engineers, a robotics team of seventh-graders, finished in the top 10 percent of the world’s teams, said Mary Jones, the team’s coach. Two of the students competed at the championship for the second time.

New Palestine Intermediate School

Two New Palestine Intermediate School six-grade robotics teams, Tech Turtles and The A Team, competed at worlds. The Tech Turtles came in 21st place in their division, and The A Team came in 67th place in their division, said Jamie Inskeep, robotics instructor.

“The teams utilized problem-solving, critical thinking and teamwork as they strategized and overcame language barriers with international teams,” Inskeep said. “It was sure to be an experience they will never forget.”

Montessori Science Academy

A team of eight elementary school students from Montessori Science Academy in New Palestine finished 52nd in their division, said Brian Wheatley, director of the academy. The team was paired with a Chinese team during matches that ended up winning the overall elementary school competition.

Geist Montessori Academy

TechnoSquad, a team of Geist Montessori Academy students, finished 69th in their division of 82 teams, said robotics instructor Kathy McGinn. They also ranked 176th among 400 teams for their skills score.

The team competed against Moroccan students in one match, McGinn said, and they also met students from China.

“I enjoyed meeting other people, working with them, talking about their robots, and they were really nice!” said Callum Robb, a student on the team.

Cornerstone Robotics

Team 323A Apex — which competes at the middle school level — and Team 323Z Phoenix — a group of high schoolers — are home-schooled student teams from Hancock County that are part of Cornerstone Robotics.

Team 323Z Phoenix wrapped up their qualification matches with a record of 7-3-1, said Nicole Bishop, the teams’ coach. Team 323A Apex finished ranked 24th, barely missing division finals.

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New Palestine High School

Dragon 1, seniors: Tyler Newcomb, Evan Shaw, Logan Weaver, Cameron Rooks, Trevor Darley

New Palestine Junior High School

NPJH Engineers, seventh grade: Oliver Bindewald, Dylan Moody, Bradon Newcomb, Noah Dropsey

New Palestine Intermediate School

The Tech Turtles: Jake Cooper, Jace Sutton, Tyler Wilson, Chase Shinkle

The A Team: Kendall Steele, Brady Torzewski, Andrew Hahn, Jackson Kamp

Montessori Science Academy

Elementary school: Kendan Lehman, Leyton Hinton, Jayden Abraham, Castiella Wheatley, Lizzy Burns, Brody Waterman, Callie Prows, Sara Weller

Greenfield-Central High School

1115 A: Adam Hughes, Steven Bass, Grayson Bishop, Christian Voigt, Luke Muckerheide

1115 B: Caleb Stoeffler, Elaine Hilton, Dylan Wyman, Austin Robinson

Geist Montessori Academy

TechnoSquad: Eliza Sweeney, Adrianna Terry, Isak Thorne, Caleb Lewis, Molly Kwok, Brian Beck

Cornerstone Robotics

Team 323A Apex: Everett Bishop, Claire Bishop

Team 323Z Phoenix:Owen Bishop, Claire Bishop, Justus Lockerbie

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Check out a photo gallery on the Daily Reporter’s website of Hancock County robotics teams competing at Vex Worlds.