First-time VEX Robotics team takes top honors at northern Dream It. Do It. tournament

The Windom Eagles, from Windom Middle School and High School were awarded the Excellence Award at the Dream It. Do It. Northern Minnesota VEX Robotics Tournament hosted by Bemidji State University and Northwest Technical College in Bemidji this past weekend. With this award, the Windom Eagles qualified to compete at the VEX Robotics World Championship in Anaheim, California, in April against top teams from 30 countries worldwide. This was the team’s first VEX Robotics tournament.

Peggy Young, Training and Development Consultant at Riverland Community College, introduced the team to VEX Robotics. She shares, “I am proud to see the improvements this team has made from competing in a scrimmage to competing in a tournament. Even more, they respect their competitors and advocated for them. We are building more than robots here – we are shaping our future innovators to positively impact the world around them.”

Local team Tank, from Bemidji’s Civil Air Patrol, were named Tournament Champions, along with teams Boss Botz and Bacon Bots from Boy Scout troops in St. Cloud and Sartell. In second place were teams from Grygla Public School Robotics, Marshall County Central Schools and Windom Middle School and High School. Tank also won the Sportsmanship Award. Boss Botz also won second place in Programming Skills, won first in Robot Skills, and was awarded the Energy Award for team spirit, and Bacon Bots also won second place for Robot Skills. Lancaster Robotics from Lancaster School placed first in Programming Skills and won the Design Award for their engineering process and documentation about their robot. The Fisher Knights from Fisher High School won the Judges Award for their team organization and community support. Pictures from the day and of the award winners are posted on Dream It. Do It.’s Facebook page.

During the day, 23 teams from all over Minnesota played Sack Attack, a game which involves students to have their robot pick up and deliver bean bags to the goal in two minutes. The students applied what they have learned about science, technology, engineering and math in order to build the semi-autonomous machines. An equally important set of skills is learned through the competition–communication, project management, site management and the importance of composure–because students have to learn how to lose as much as they have to learn how to win.

The Dream It. Do It. Northern Minnesota VEX Robotics Tournament is part of a series of VEX Robotics Competitions taking place internationally throughout the year. VEX Robotics is the world’s fastest growing competitive robotics program for middle schools, high schools and colleges around the world, with more than 5,000 teams from 30 countries that participate in more than 350 VEX Robotics Competition events worldwide. The competition season culminates each spring, with the VEX Robotics World Championship event, uniting top qualifying teams from local, state and international VEX Robotics Competitions.

Dream It. Do It. collaborates with industry members to promote careers in manufacturing in Minnesota, including robotic events like this tournament. The initiative is led by 360 Manufacturing and Applied Engineering ATE Regional Center of Excellence, which includes Bemidji State University, Northwest Technical College and eight other community and technical colleges.

More information about Dream It. Do It. is available at www.dreamitdoitmn.com, and more information about the VEX Robotics Competition is available at www.RobotEvents.com.