TA Robotics Team Qualifies for NH/VT VEX State Championships

TA Robotics Team Qualifies for NH/VT VEX State Championships

Thetford Academy robotics teams 4886B and 4886C travelled to North Conway, NH, on Saturday, Nov. 4, to face 29 other teams from eight  schools.

Team 4886C, with senior Clay Goodling (who joined our team last spring) and third year competitor, 9th grader Alex Holzer, finished first in the qualifying rounds with the best record of the day; Clay and Alex were team captains and first seed in the elimination rounds.

Team 4886B, with 8th grader Tate Whiteberg and 7th grader Isaiah Kol finished in the top ten and were team captains for the fifth seed out of the eight alliances moving forward in the elimination rounds. Our B team was the only middle school team present, outplaying most high school teams. Also attending the tournament was a new team member, 6th grader Daniel Kasten, who scouted the best teams of the day and worked in our pit area to keep our equipment ready for play (Daniel’s robot is under construction).

Both teams advanced to the semifinals, with our Team C’s alliance defeating our own Team B’s alliance to advance to the finals.  In a well-played best of three final round, our Team C was defeated by a strong alliance from Kennett High School (the host) and Pembroke Academy, a perennial powerhouse.  Nevertheless, by reaching the finals, Clay and Alex earn an invitation to the NH/VT VEX State Championship in February at Manchester Community College.

The State Championship is where the five best teams from NH/VT can earn an invitation to the VEX World Championship.   Our performance at this tournament represented a great improvement over our last meet at Trinity High School in Manchester, NH,  two weeks ago. Both teams made significant improvements to their robots in the two weeks in-between, with the C team building an entirely new robot from scratch.

We have three other new members building robots after school: 9th grader Carter Banks, 7th grader Marshall Melancon, and, joining Daniel Kasten from TES, Aden Perry.  Because of TA’s later start and ending time, Aden and Daniel, TES 6th graders, are able to join the team this year.  Marshall, Aden and Daniel all competed at our first tournament last month.

Our team builds, programs and tests their robots after school in our highly versatile and jam-packed Chemistry/Physics/Computer Science/Robotics lab. We are grateful to math teacher Luke Teschner for tolerating our 12’x12’ practice field set up in the back of his classroom, and to science teacher Derek Burkins, who puts up with our collection of less than perfectly organized robots and parts in the back of his classroom. Visitors to the Academy are welcome to visit our team to watch us build any day between 3 and 4PM.

We are also pleased to note that one of our team’s founding members, Owen Marshall, TA ’13, entered graduate school in Robotics at the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, this fall after completing his Computer Science degree at UVM last spring.

—Marc Chabot, Dean of Academics, VEX Robotics Advisor