Middle, high school teams compete in CSM Robotics Challenge

Middle, high school teams compete in CSM Robotics Challenge


Eighteen teams from nine Charles County public schools competed in the 2014 College of Southern Maryland ‘s VEX League Robotics Challenge held Saturday, Feb. 8, at the La Plata campus. The challenge is part of CSM’s Institute of Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (iSTEM), which provides programs to encourage students to pursue careers in STEM fields.

Six CCPS teams qualified to compete in the VEX Robotics Maryland State Championship scheduled for March 8. Teams that earn the Excellence, Tournament Champion, Tournament Finalist and Design awards at the regional level automatically advance to the state event. Additional teams are invited to participate at the state level based on their overall skill rankings at the regional event.

The Teal Dimensions team from Mattawoman Middle School was named Tournament Champions and advance to the state event. They share the award with teams from Calvert and Great Mills high schools. Team members are eighth graders Hannah Sturgill, Marco Viray and Gabriel Dizon, and their coach is Jeffrey Wester, an art teacher at Mattawoman.

More than one team can receive the Tournament Champion award based on how the event is structured. The challenge, titled “Toss Up,” is divided into qualifying rounds, team alliance selection rounds and elimination rounds in which teams maneuver their robots to compete in a 12-foot by 12-foot square area. The playing area is equipped with red and blue rings and moveable goals with posts. Two goals are connected together and two alliances, one red and one blue, composed of two teams each, compete against each other. The object of the game is to score the most points by scoring balls in designated goal zones.

The Angle Warriors (5977A) team from La Plata High School received the Tournament Finalist award and advances to the state level. They share the award with teams from Huntingtown and Patuxent high schools. The Tournament Finalist award goes to the top two runner-up alliances. The team also earned the Create Award, which recognizes teams for using a creative engineering solution to work with the design challenges of the game.

Team members are seniors Sarah Bard and Deonte’ Hall; juniors Peter Calomeris, Michael Humphrey and John Hungerford; sophomores Matthew Eppley, David Puhalsky and Gavin Staples; and freshman Elizabeth Beaton, Hunter Blumenstein and Robert Yorio. The team coach is Garrick Baker, a technology education teacher at La Plata.

An additional four teams – two teams from La Plata, one team from Mattawoman and a team from North Point High School – qualified to compete at the state level through their overall skill rankings. Two La Plata Angle Warriors teams, 5977B and 5977C, automatically advance to the state event. Team 5977B includes seniors William Bermudez and Dedra Hammond; juniors David Beaton, Travis Earnshaw and Blaine Hoffman; sophomores Emma Dawson and Thomas Hancock; and freshman Andrew Kret, Anant Patel and Joseph Patterson. Baker is also the coach of this team.

Members of the La Plata Angle Warriors 5977C team are senior William Coggins;  juniors Matthew McElhaney, Kyle Morgan and Bethany Riege; sophomores Sarah Dawson and Gavin Staples; and freshman Millicent Szalapski and Liam Vienneau. This team also earned the Amaze Award, which recognizes teams for their robot performance. Baker also coaches this team.

Mattawoman’s The Elements team also advances to the state competition next month. Team members are eighth graders Alexander Booth, Caleb Payton and Cameron Revelle. Their team also received the Judges Award, which highlights teams that demonstrate exemplary effort and performance. The team coach is Lynnette Baker, a computer teacher at Mattawoman.

North Point’s Eagles team of sophomores Sierra Early, Josh Hills, Darius Humphries, Isaiah Sauls and James Swann also advances to the state level for their overall skill performance at the regional CSM event. The team also received the Build Award, which recognizes teams for building a well-constructed robot and paying attention to detail. Team coach is Ryan Novitski, a technology education teacher at North Point.

Teams from Maurice J. McDonough, Thomas Stone and Westlake high schools, and John Hanson, General Smallwood and Piccowaxen middle schools also competed in the event. A total of 45 teams from the tri-county area competed in the event. The state competition will be held at the Carroll County Agricultural Center on March 8.

Charles County Public Schools provides 26,400 students in grades prekindergarten through 12 with an academically challenging education. Located in Southern Maryland, Charles County Public Schools has 35 schools that offer a technologically advanced, progressive and high quality education that builds character, equips for leadership and prepares students for life, careers and higher education.

The Charles County public school system does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, religion, national origin, sex, sexual orientation, age or disability in its programs, activities or employment practices. For inquiries, please contact Dr. Patricia Vaira, Title IX Coordinator and Section 504 Coordinator (students) or Connie W. Armstead, Section 504 Coordinator (employees/adults), at Charles County Public Schools, central office building, P.O. Box 2770, La Plata, Maryland 20646. 301-932-6610/301-870-3814. For special accommodations call 301-934-7230 or TDD 1-800-735-2258 two weeks prior to the event.

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