Robotics team to compete in VEX World Championship


The robotics team works on one of their competition robots.

Nelson Gomez, Editor-in-Chief

All three groups in the robotics club made it to the VEX Robotics Competition’s New York state championships, with one group representing MHS at the VEX World Championship.

Qualification rounds consist of elimination-style matches in which the Robo Chiefs, like the other competitors, team up with another competing team to develop a strategy and work together to complete a set of challenges.

Alliances are scored according to how well the challenges are completed, and, teams must score higher than the opposing alliance in order to qualify.

“I wasn’t at states, personally, but I was at all the other competitions, and it’s exhilarating,” senior Kevin Zygmunt said. “There’s a whole bunch of other teams; it’s competitive, and building the robot is time consuming, but it’s… fun.”

The world championship will take place in Louisville, Kentucky from April 15 to April 18. More than 400 teams from the United States, the United Kingdom, China, and other nations around the world will compete for the top spot.

For the Robo Chiefs, the accomplishment is not without hurdles to overcome. Mechanical issues and unpredictable behavior of the robots posed a challenge with qualifying for the VEX World Championship.

“One robot in particular, we’ve had difficulties getting it to work to a reliable standard, so we haven’t been able to win much,” junior Shane Murphy said, “but at our last competition we were able to do well and complete tasks reliably, so that allowed us to win over the other robots that were there.”

Despite technical difficulties, the competition itself isn’t a priority for the team; rather, the learning experience and team-building aspects are more important to them than the awards.

“The team’s biggest strengths are cooperation, teamwork and dedication,” robotics coach Mr. Brian Vanek said. “As long as the students continue to work together they will be great at the state competition, but what is more important than the trophies is the teamwork… and the students have done a fantastic job already this year.”

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