Teams enjoy 2nd VEX Robotics competition

VEX Robotics teams from around the state won several awards this past weekend at the Dream It. Do It. Central Minnesota VEX Robotics Tournament, hosted by St. Cloud Technical and Community College. The Boss Botz team from Boy Scouts Troop 15 won the Excellence Award as the top all-around team. They also were the Tournament Champions, along with the Volt Thugz team from Boy Scouts Troop 15 in Cold Spring and the Iron Chargers team from Grygla Public Schools in Grygla. These three teams formed a successful alliance, winning all of their final matches. They also received invitations to compete at the World Championships in California in April against top teams from 30 countries worldwide.

Other teams from the St. Cloud area also won awards. Tournament Finalists included teams Black & Blue All Over You from Boy Scouts Troop 14 in St. Cloud, Stormin’ Eagles from Boy Scouts Troop 21 in Sauk Rapids and the Windom Eagles from Windom Middle School and High School in Windom. The Stormin’ Eagles also were named Programming Skills Winner for their ability to program their robot to score points. The X Bot team from Stearns County 4-H won the Teamwork Award. The BaconBots team from Boy Scouts Troop 211 from Sartell so impressed the judges with their respect for other teams that the judges requested they be named runner-up for sportsmanship. Pictures from the day and of the award winners are posted on the Dream It. Do It. Facebook page.

To prepare for the competition, each team designed and built their robot using the VEX Robotics Design System, applying what they have learned about science, technology, engineering and math. During the morning and early afternoon, 31 teams from all over Minnesota competed in 70 qualification rounds to play Sack Attack, a game which involves students to have their robot pick up and deliver bean bags to the goal in two minutes. After the qualification rounds, teams formed alliances to compete in the final rounds.

“This is a high energy, exciting event where teams have a chance to practice teamwork and sportsmanship, as well as engage in STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) skills,” says Aaron Barker, who coordinated the event and is an instructor at St. Cloud Technical and Community College.

The Central Minnesota Council of the Boy Scouts of America was recognized as Partner of the Year for their work in helping VEX Robotics take off in central Minnesota. Dave Marquart from International Precision Machining received Volunteer of the Year for his continued support of the VEX Robotics events.

The Dream It. Do It. VEX Robotics Tournaments are 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, St. Cloud Technical and Community College and eight other community and technical colleges.

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