Two Charles robotics teams to compete in VEX Worlds event
North Point High, Berry Elementary clubs participating in international competition
Two robotics teams from Charles County will be competing in the 2017 VEX Worlds robotics competitions in Louisville, Ky., this month.
The Meme Team, comprised of North Point High School freshmen Christopher Moreno and Max Stine, sophomore Tyler Ulmschneider and juniors Alex Booth, Tyler Cataldo and Jabari Grubb, are currently competing in the high school division tournament, which ends Saturday.
The Meme Team earned semifinalist ranking at the state competition held March 4 at Dundalk High School. This is their first time being invited to the world championship competition in the program’s five-year history.
“We ran into one complication: Our robot would occasionally lock up on its pick up mechanism, but overall it ran pretty smooth,” said junior Tyler Cataldo from North Point.
Timothy Yaunch, who coaches the North Point team along with Melanie Cole, said he was pleased to see how far his team has gone.
“They’ve only had four competitions, so I’m amazed and impressed that they’ve made it this far; usually teams need many more competitions to get this far,” Yaunch said.
The STEMtastic Jaguars of Berry Elementary School earned fourth place in the cumulative skills rankings as well as the Sportsmanship Award at the Feb. 25 state competition.
“We really just cheered for other teams and celebrated them when they got a goal,” Jeremiah Severe said of the Sportsmanship Award.
The STEMtastic Jaguars are comprised of fourth graders Julien Carmona, Isabella Caudil and Jonathan Parham, and fifth graders Elias Bend, Joshua Hong, Jessica Nam, Jaxon Rhea, Jhordyn Robinson, Jeremiah Severe and Caleb Tuerrell. This is the first year Berry has taken part in the robotics competition.
Coaches Jacob Gerding and Robyn Cataldo said they were probably more excited than the students when they received the invite to the VEX Worlds competition.
“I got the email and I called Robyn up, and she went ‘Yahhh!’” Gerding said. “It was totally unexpected.”
Robyn Cataldo said students were told they had made it into the world championship through a “Hang Man” game.
“The coaches received the email that said we were invited to Worlds,” Robyn Cataldo said. “So we set up the Hang Man game to read ‘We are going to Worlds.’”
The VEX IQ Challenge Elementary School Division, in which the STEMtastic Jaguars will compete, will be held April 23-25.
In the VEX Robotics competition, teams of students are tasked with designing and building a robot to play against other teams in a game-based engineering challenge.
Each year, VEX releases the rules and goals for the type of game to be played, and teams must build a robot that can perform the tasks required.
In this year’s elementary school challenge, robots must score in high and low goals and balance on a bridge.
“You’re competing against different robots to see who can get the most hexballs in the scoring places,” said Jhordyn Robinson.
In the high school challenge, robots working together in “alliances” must get star-shaped and cubed objects over a fence to score points.
“It has to lift stars and cubes over a wall,” Booth said. “If you get it on the far side of the field, it’s worth more points, and if it’s near, it’s worth less.”
Moreno said they first used a pitchfork on the robot to lift up the stars.
“But our first two competitions, it didn’t really work, so we switched the design,” Moreno said. “Now we have a big claw that just grabs all the stars and cubes.”
Members of the Meme Team also mentored the elementary school team in building their robot.
“It was difficult at first, because we didn’t know them,” Booth said. “But after that, we could teach them what to do, but you had to get it so that they could understand it.”
Berry Elementary student Joshua Hong said the most exciting thing about going to Worlds was meeting other teams, and seeing how they designed their robots.
Robyn Cataldo said the STEMtastic Jaguars worked after school twice a week to prepare for the competition.
“This team is one of the most dedicated group of students that I’ve seen. They’ve really worked hard at becoming a team,” Robyn Cataldo said.
Members of the Berry Elementary STEMtastic Jaguars, in front from left, Jonathan Parham, Isabella Caudill, Joshua Hong, Jordyn Robinson, Caleb Terrell and Jeremiah Severe, and back from left, Elias Bend, Jaxon Rhea (with robot) and Julien Carmona, compete in the VEX Worlds — VEX IQ Challenge Elementary School Division competition April 23-25 in Louisville, Ky.
Members of the North Point High School Meme Team, in front from left, Christopher Moreno and Jabari Grubb, and in back from left, Tyler Ulmschneider, Alex Booth, Tyler Cataldo and Max Stine, along with their robot, center, are currently competing in the 2017 VEX Worlds — VEX Robotics Competition High School Division, which runs from April 19-22 in Louisville, Ky.