Middle School Robotics Team: Top Third in VEX World Championships

Middle School Robotics Team: Top Third in VEX World Championships

Robotics Alumni Win Accolades in U-Worlds

Thetford Academy’s robotics team 4886 completed an excellent 2016-17 competition year with our seventh straight visit to the VEX World Championship in Louisville, KY, during April break.

This year, TA team 4886B—Black Mesa—represented Vermont and New Hampshire as the top middle school team in the twin states.  Alex Holzer, 8th grade, and Tate Whiteberg, 7th grade, made a good showing, going 5-4-1 in ten competitions against the best teams in the world, with several of their losses decided by a mere one or two points.

Accompanying team B in a support role was our high school team 4886A, Aperture Science: Justin Duguay and Janos Groszek. The judges at Worlds reminded us that our team represented the top three percent of all teams in the world, and our 33rd place out of 80 in our division showed that we are among the top one percent in the world–a fine showing for first year competitor Tate and second year robot builder Alex.

Helping us make the 17 hour drive to and from Louisville was Ellie Marshall, mother of Owen Marshall, TA ’13. Owen competed for his fourth time at Vex-U (University) Worlds, after three trips to the high school worlds with team 4886, as part of team BotsNStuff; Owen was joined in Kentucky by former TA teammate Robert Fernandez ’13.

BotNStuff won two significant awards at the competition: they were Robot Skills Champion (scoring the most points of any team in a solo, timed contest) and the Amaze Award, for the team with an amazing, well-rounded and top performing robot.

Next year, Owen will be attending a graduate program in robotics at the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor–a top-10 nationally ranked robotics program, and Robert will be studying digital media in graduate school.

Congratulations, Tate and Alex (pictured above in Louisville at the World Championship), as well as Owen and Robert. We are proud of all of our robotics participants, present and past, and are pleased to see so many of our former members pursue careers in STEM fields (science, technology, engineering and mathematics).

—Marc Chabot, Dean of Academics and Robotics Coach