MARENGO – Four Highland Middle School students qualified for the to compete against teams from 60 countries around the world to be held in Dallas, Texas May 3-5, 2022. Their robot, Ariel Damage, qualified for the competition after a successful run at the Ohio Vex State Robotics tournament in Marion, Ohio, on March 11.
The 6390Z team consists of eighth graders Matthew Miller, Chase Jordan, Mary Green and Micah McLeod who each bring their unique skills to build a robot and compete against teams in advancing to the highest level. The team qualified for the world competition with their skills score of 321 points, which included 100 autonomous program and 221 driver points.
During the regular season, teams can qualify for the state competition by winning competitions throughout the season. Team 6390Z qualified for the state competition by earning the Excellence Award at the Highland sponsored event on December 11, 2021, as well as receiving tournament champion and the Amaze Award at the Elyria tournament on January 8, 2022.
“This team has grown and progressed over the course of this year. The team works well together and looks constantly to improve. Not many teams dismantle and rebuild a completely different robot after winning an Excellence Award at a tournament,” said Chad Russell, Highland Middle School robotics instructor. “They knew to be competitive they would have to go a different route to become successful in tournament play.”
Team member Green said it took a team effort to advance. “I never believed that we would make it this far,” stated Green who serves as the code programmer for the team. “There’s no way we could’ve done it without our amazing notebook keeper, our awesome builder or our spectacular driver.”
Russell added the Highland Middle School program has been one of the largest in the state for middle school the last four seasons. “Robotics is a three-season activity requiring many months of commitment. All of these teams started after school practices in September, and this qualifying team will continue working until World’s is held in May. That is a huge time commitment, and I am thankful to have so many students interested and willing to put in the time.”
To help offset the costs of traveling to Dallas, the team has two upcoming fundraisers planned for the community. The first is a spaghetti dinner scheduled for Friday, April 22 from 4:30- 8 p.m. and a pancake breakfast on April 30 from 7 – 11 a.m. Both will be held at the Highland Middle School cafeteria. If you are unable to attend, but would still like to make a donation, checks can be made payable to Highland Local Schools with “robotics” in the memo line.
“We are all looking forward to the trip to Dallas and the opportunity. The students are at it again improving the robot for the trip,” Russell said.