TA News

TA’s Robotics Teams Prepare for VT/NH State Tournament

An update from TA robotics coach Leif LaWhite: Departing from TA at 6:15 a.m. and -16F, Thetford Academy’s VEX Robotics team 4886 sent all six middle and high school teams (13 students) to Belmont, NH on Saturday. This was the last regular tournament of the robotics season and all eyes were looking through this one to the NH/VT State Tournament on Feb. 19th.  

Turbo Encabulator: Tate Whiteberg
Beefcake: Marshal Melancon, Michael Fernandez, Isaiah Kol
Skunkworks: Eldon Crossett, Avery Crandall
String Theory: Aden Perry, Connor Cutter-Walker, Duncan MacPhee
Waluigi: Caleb Crossett
Yogurt: Rowan Moody-A’ness, Tristan Woodward, Paul Hesser

Three teams (Turbo Encabulator, Beefcake, and Skunkworks) had already qualified for the State Tournament, so their goal was to use this event as practice for the competition at States. The other three (String Theory, Waluigi, and Yogurt) were hoping to earn their own spot. 

There are two main ways to qualify for a VEX Robotics State Tournament:

1) Be one of four teams in the final match at a regional tournament and/or win a special award in a tournament. This can prove difficult, as many already-qualified teams continue to compete and win awards at subsequent tournaments. 

2) Earn a high score in the Robot Skills competition. In this competition, teams work through the same game – but instead of a two v. two battle, it is one v. the clock. Each team gets one minute of driving their robot to score as many points as possible, and a second minute where the robot must run all by itself (autonomously). The two scores are added together and ranked to fill open spots for States.

On Saturday, 13 out of the 24 spots in the championship event were filled by tournament wins and awards, leaving 11 open spots for TA teams to win. 

So, in addition to the normal competition, String Theory, Waluigi, and Yogurt’s focus on Saturday was the skills field. By the end of the day, both Waluigi and String Theory had posted 160-point scores; of those not already qualified, they are presently the top two in the skills rankings and likely have earned spots at States.

Team Yogurt is our middle school team (indeed the ONLY middle-school team in the entire NH/VT league). They’ve been in the thick of it competing against all the high-school teams, and they posted a 100-point skills score. It is yet unclear how things will shake out for Yogurt.  

The only actual hardware brought home from this meet was by the Turbo Encabulator which posted the highest skills score (464 points) in the NH/VT league and is presently ranked 40th in the world.    

Some of these NH/VT roboteurs have been allying with and competing against each other at these meets for years and they have grown to know, admire, and respect each other. As all were packing up at the end of the day, the resounding chorus was “See you at States!”



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