FLINT TWP.— Carman- Ainsworth Middle School VEX Robotics teams continued their winning streak by capturing the title at the VEX Robotics Michigan State Championship on Sunday.
Still undefeated after four outings, the teams — MO” Peeps and Even MO’ Peeps — are now headed for the World Championship Competition to be April 19-22 at the Kentucky Exposition Center in Louisville, Kentucky where they will be among 160 middle school teams competing from around the world.
At the state championship, the CAMS teams were among 28 middle school teams from around the state at the tournament held at Jenison Fieldhouse on the campus of Michigan State University in East Lansing.
After the qualifying matches, Team 1375A (MO’ Peeps) was the No. 1 seed. For their finals alliance, they selected Team 1375B (Even MO” Peeps) and a third partner Team 3547C Technology First from Lambertville, said Tom Wickham, an assistant coach for the CAMS teams.
“The three teams went undefeated in the playoffs, easily winning the finals match,” Wickham said.
Team 1375B also won the Robot Skills Award.
Full state competition results can be read online at www.robotevents.com/robot-competitions/ vex-robotics-competition/ RE-VRC-16-1170.html
“The robots our kids build are very complex machines that require thousands of lines of code that the kids have been learning to do since fall,” Wickham said. “This is a great STEM program and is preparing the youth for careers in engineering.”
Leanne Welch, team head coach and a third-grade teacher at Rankin Elementary has a very successful history as a robotics coach. She has coached FIRST LEGO League teams (primarily elementary school) that have won numerous state championships and a world championship. Welch decided to switch to the VEX program this school year to work with middle school youth.
Most of the VEX students at CAMS also attended Rankin and a few are former Randels Elementary students where Wickham and his wife coached a FIRST LEGO League.
Members of the formidable CAMS VEX teams include Lydia Minzey, Parker Oosterhof, Ainsley Vanderhyde, Alex Wickham, Caleb Rose, Kya Cawood, Jack Roy; Micah Shamley, Leanders Bowers, Adrien Forgoso and Sonny Forgoso.
The two CAMS teams have joined forces in the finals playoffs for each of their wins so far.
The teams first won the VEX Robotics Competition Starstruck held on Jan. 21 at Cranbrook Kingswood Boys Middle School in Bloomfield Hills, bringing home four of six trophies.
They finished first again on Jan. 28 at the Nissan VEX Starstruck Qualifier held at the Nissan Technical Center North America in Farmington Hills.
They won again at the VEX Robotics tournament on Feb. 4, at Monroe County Community College where one team also took First Place in the Robot Skills Challenge and the other won the Think Award honoring its programming ability.
Heading into the state competition, MO’ Peeps and Even MO’ Peeps were ranked #1 and #2 among all Middle School Vex teams in the state and #1 and #8 among all Middle School Vex teams in the world.
VEX is a fast-growing middle school and high school robotics program with more than 16,000 teams from 40 countries participating in more than 1,350 tournaments worldwide, according to information on its website. Each year, an engineering challenge is presented in the form of a game. For the 2016-17 season, partic- ipants in the VEX Robotics Competition are playing a game called Starstruck.
The game is played on a 12’x12’ square field divided into sides by a fence. Teams and their robots score point by launching star and cube shapes into zones on their opponents’ side of the playing field. They can score additional points by hanging their robot from a bar at the end of play. Information about the VEX world championship can be found here: www.robotevents.com/robot-competitions/vex-robotics-competition/ RE-VRC-17-4885.html