On Saturday, February 8th the Nevada State Elementary VEX IQ Championship was held at Greenspun Junior High School in Henderson, Nevada.  David E. Norman’s Minotaur team (Caiden Castellano, Camdon Weaver, Masson Blades, and Tegan Ricci) took home the Teamwork Award, Skills Challenge Award, and Excellence Award, which are the highest three awards given in a VEX IQ tournament.  DEN’s Nyan Weirdos (Kalli Ray, Landon Neilson, Kaleb Nielson) team received the Amaze Award.  Minotaur and Nyan Weirdos both earned the chance to represent David E. Norman Elementary and the state of Nevada at the World Championship in Louisville, KY in April.  The teams from White Pine made an excellent showing with all five teams finishing in the top 50% of teams in the state of Nevada.  

The competition was fierce for the top spots at the championship.  There were 62 teams, representing 25 elementary schools and other organizations, competing for the chance to go to the VEX World Championship.  The Minotaur team started out with an early lead in the skills portion of the competition, where individual driving and programming talents were put to the test.  Minotaur put up a score of 40 in programming and 71 in driving for a total of 111 points.  The second-place team, McCaw Robot Academy from Gordon McCaw Elementary School in Henderson, scored 40 in programming and 60 in driving for 100 points and the Nyan Weirdos team also scored 40 in programming and 60 in driving to take 3rd place.  The other two DENBot teams also did well in skills with the Braniacs (Jillian Bath, Cecil Kunz, Chloe Hellmann) coming in 17th place with a score of 51 and the Flying Unipiggies (Emery Balch, Breanna Nielson, Catie Murphree, Brindel Blades) coming in 23rd with 32 points.  The Narwhals of Doom (Brennen Castellano, Jayger Sangster, Arianna Hellmann, Alyssa Nielson, Samantha Murphree), sponsored by Nutty Robots, came in 22nd with 40 points.

During the teamwork portion of the competition, teams were paired together to work cooperatively and earn as many points as possible.  After the 6 rounds of teamwork matches, Minotaur was in first with 380 points giving them a solid lead and the top seed for the finals round.  The Brainiacs also qualified for finals coming in 7th with a score of 265.  The Nyan Weirdos finished in 23rd place, the Flying Unipiggies came in 26th, and the Narwhals of Doom came in 29th.

In the finals rounds, teams from Engineering for Kids and Diskin Elementary put up an early high score of 80.  Brainiacs and their partners from Ann Lynch Elementary scored 30 points in their final match.  An alliance of two teams from McCaw Elementary was able to score 101 by placing all 7 cubes in the scoring zones and scoring one ball in a cube.  In the final round of the competition the Minotaurs and a team from Nate Mack Elementary quickly scored all 7 cubes and 3 balls for a final score of 103 to take the top spot.  With their victory secured, both teams put their controllers down with more than 10 seconds left on the clock.

The Minotaur team was also chosen for the Excellence award, which is the highest award presented in the competition. This award is presented to a team that exemplifies overall excellence in building a high-quality robot and is a top contender in all categories.  The Nyan Weirdos won the Amaze award which is presented to the team that has built an amazing, high-scoring robot that clearly demonstrates overall quality.  The Brainiacs were among the five finalists for the STEM award.

We are extremely proud of each of these students and what they’ve accomplished this year!