By Daniel T. Murphree
Special to The Ely Times
On Saturday, November 10th the David E. Norman Robotics Teams competed in the VEX IQ Challenge Tournament at Lied STEM Academy in Las Vegas. The four DEN teams competed with a field of 21 elementary and middle school robotics teams from Lied STEM Academy, Greenspun Junior High School, Robert O. Gibson Middle School, Nate Mack Elementary School, and Engineering for Kids Las Vegas. The tournament consisted of four types of competitions which allowed the teams to showcase their teamwork, robotic control, and programming skills using robots they designed and built themselves. The highlight of the tournament was the 74 round “Teamwork” competition. In this part of the competition, teams (usually from different institutions) are paired together to try to score as many points as possible in one minute by having their robots stack hubs and park or hang in a designated area before the time is up.
In the Teamwork competition, three of the DEN teams, including the Rock team (Merissa Carson, Neah DeLaCerda, Rebecca Murphree, and Brooklynn Reed), the Minotaur team (Masson Blades, Caiden Castellano, Tegan Ricci, and Camdon Weaver), and the Super Stackers (Tahlia Aquino, Thomas Murphree, Kalli Ray, and Crichton Swetich) placed 7th, 13th, and 15th (respectively) qualifying them for the finals round. The Blue Bunnies (Jillian Bath, Eliora Maselli, Catherine Murphree, and Jennifer Nicolls) played with a lot of heart and came in 19th place.
In the finals, the Rock team held it together to tie for 5th place with a score of 8, the two newest members of the Super Stackers pulled off 6 points to end in 7th place, and the Minotaur team fought through some technical difficulties to place 8th with 5 points total. The winners of the tournament were the Robotic Dolphins from Greenspun Junior High and H2D2 from Engineering for Kids Las Vegas with an impressive score of 19 points in the finals in a nail-biting match that saw both bonus hubs in a high-scoring position and one team “high hanging” for a maximum parking score.
In the driver’s skills competition, teams competed alone to get as many points as possible. Here the Rock team scored 5 points, the Minotaurs scored 4, the Super Stackers also scored 4, and the Blue Bunnies brought in 3 points.
The DEN teams did not compete in the programming competition in this tournament because they have not had the chance to learn programming yet, but they look forward to competing in this part in future tournaments.
Team coach Caroline Murphree says, “The DEN teams were some of the youngest teams in the competition. Some of them have been practicing with their completed robots for less than a week. The teams all did an excellent job for their first-ever tournament and showed great teamwork, sportsmanship, and skill under pressure.”
The DENBots’ next tournament will be December 1st at Snow College in Ephraim, UT.