Saturday, January 25th we hosted our 2nd Annual Robotics tournament. It was for elementary and middle school robotics teams. We had competitors come from West Lafayette, Trafalgar, Crawfordsville, as well as some of our nearer neighbors. These teams have used robotics parts designed by and purchased from VEX Robotics to design and build robots to compete in a challenge that changes each year. This year, teams score points by putting cubes in and on scoring zones or platforms, and by putting balls inside or on top of the cubes.

Hosting a tournament has the benefits of letting our students compete, making it easier for our community to see our students compete, and it also brings in funds that supports the robotics program for the next year. This event raised about $1200 for us to put back into our teams. We will use this money to pay the registration cost to events next year, and also the regstration to the state tournament this year (more on that later.) We also intend to buy matching t-shirts for the teams. Our school is conveniently located for many teams, and our facilities are wonderful – especially considering elementary competitions are often held in elementary gyms which aren’t as large or impressive as the Eel Tank. It can be tricky to have the right number of volunteers, and to have volunteers up to the task of an all day, frenetic event, but our volunteers were incredible.

So who won? The VEX IQ Teamwork Championship is always won by two teams – since they compete in alliances of two teams per match, the final round is won by two teams. Finals alliances are set by matching up the top teams – team ranked #10 runs with #9. #8 runs with #7, and so on. Our tournament was won by the alliance that went into the finals ranked #1 and #2 – Eminence Elementary’s Eelbotics A (AJ Soewardie and Luke Finney) and Eminence Jr. High’s Eelbotics B (Colton Cromer and Seth Mobley) with a score that was one of the highest of the whole day – 102 points. Since they won, both of these teams qualify for the VEX IQ State Championship at Lucus Oil Stadium in March. Luke and AJ had already qualified at their previous tournament, which they also won. The 2nd place alliance was a middle school team from West Lafayette teamed with our own Ultimate Fix (Destiny Wright, Gavin Storm, and Wyatt Moore).  The third place alliance included our own Burnin’ Mac and Cheese (MaKenna Cromer and Lynnsey Mabry.) Taking into consideration the qualifying match scores and the finals, Eminence teams placed 1st, 2nd, 4th, and 5th out of 32 teams. Luke and AJ also won an additional invitation to state for winning the Excellence Award for their design notebook, teamwork scores, and their skills scores. They had the highest driver scores and programming scores in the tournament.

Ultimate Fix and Burnin’ Mac and Cheese will go all the way down to Scottsburg this weekend to try to get their own state championship invitations. They could also qualify for state by winning our next home tournament on February 8 in the multi.

The robotics teams are coached by Mr. Bagg (elementary) and Mrs. Sutherlin (jr. high.) Ariel Burger and Mark Stierwalt set up our competition area and helped out throughout. Chet Cromer ran our software and displays. Mrs. Hoover, Sid Eisenhour, Mrs. Penman, and Mrs. Willis were our referees. Mrs. Hall and Steve Crites were our judges, and Phyllis . Matt Moxley was our emcee and Emily Stierwalt and Devoney Collins kept everyone where they belong as our queing officials. Walter Bagg and Mrs. Penman inspected and certified each robot for meeting the design criteria. Diana Rumbaugh, Molly Finney, Sunshine Society, and the families of our robotics teams ran the concession stand and sold pizzas. All these people set up beforehand and tore down afterward. We cannot underestimate the value of these generous volunteers – this event would not have happened without all these people.

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