Foothills Robotics Teams Prepare for World Championships

Sophie Macon, Ella Gebers, Miranda Nayak, Alex Dickmann, and Celia Kiezs test their latest design modifications to their robot before the VEX IQ Washington State Championship at CWU on February 23rd.

Sophie Macon, Ella Gebers, Miranda Nayak, Alex Dickmann, and Celia Kiezs test their latest design modifications to their robot before the VEX IQ Washington State Championship at CWU on February 23rd.

Six robotics teams from Foothills Middle School competed in the VEX IQ Washington State Championship Feb. 23. Two teams — “You’re a Robot, Harry” and “Somebody” — qualified for the World Championship next month.

The State competition was a rollercoaster of matches, including challenges in robot-driving, programming and teamwork, at Central Washington University. With each match, the six teams watched their rankings rise and fall on the score board.

While some teams started strong and faded as the day progressed, other teams continued to improve as the competition stretched into the mid-afternoon. Team “Somebody” earned a high score of 29 points during their final match. Then, they watched nervously as five other alliance teams attempted to beat their score and knock them out of the running for the World Championship. Coach Brigitte Wiegand was on the edge of her seat. Five matches later, team “Somebody” was still in 3rd place qualifying them for the World Championship. “We’re thrilled they’re getting the opportunity to advance,” Wiegand said. “This team came together as a cohesive group and built an exceptionally strong and versatile robot."

Team “You’re A Robot, Harry” had a very un-magical day on the competition field due to persistent mechanical problems, but their mathematical wizardry earned the state STEM Research Award and also qualified them for the Worlds Championship. Their STEM video can be viewed: https://goo.gl/qBWHEF

“‘You’re a Robot, Harry’ is an inspiring group of young women,” Coach Wiegand said. “They came into the competition with the goal of having fun and enjoying the experience. They made posters and cheered on other teams all day. They truly embody the spirit of these competitions.” The team is also an international finalist for their video promoting robotics, which can be viewed: https://goo.gl/bSy6zT

The nine students of “Somebody” and “You’re a Robot, Harry” are now preparing for the VEX IQ World Championship April 28-30, in Louisville, Kentucky, where they will join 400 middle school teams from 36 countries. Coach Wiegand said, “I am very impressed with the work ethic of all of our teams this season. I have no doubts that our two teams advancing to Worlds will continue to represent our high caliper program as the gracious competitors they are and they will have fun doing it.”

Their next challenge, raising the additional $15,000 needed for registration, airfare, hotels, meals, and other supplies for the World Championship. For more information about the FMS Robotics or to find out how you can help these exceptional students, contact Aaron Hansen at Foothills Middle School at (509) 664-8961 or hansen.a@wenatcheeschools.org.

More than 80 students are involved in the FMS Robotics program, an after-school activity that engages and inspires youth with hands-on, collaborative STEM experiences.