Robotics Teams Qualify for VEX World Competition

  • Two sixth grade students hold certificates while standing with their teachers

    Published May 3, 2021

    Two WCS robotics teams will make their first appearances in the VEX World Competition in May.

    Brentwood Middle and Ravenwood High will move on to the next stage after competing at the Tennessee VEX State Championship April 16-17.

    Brentwood Middle's team consists of sixth graders Caitlyn Arnold and Ashley Xu. They came into the season without any previous robotics experience, but their hard work earned them the Innovate Award at the State contest and secured their spot in the World Competition. This is Brentwood Middle's first year with its own robotics teams after previously competing as a joint Brentwood middle and high school team.

    "Caitlyn and Ashley are exceptionally hard workers," said BMS robotics teacher Adam Petree. "They cowrote the best engineering notebook in Tennessee by regularly making insightful, detailed entries each time they worked on their process. It was wonderful to see the students innovate, troubleshoot and redesign their robots over the six-month season. It's a completely different way of thinking than is usually experienced in other aspects of school. I look forward to seeing them compete at such a high level."

    Ravenwood High's competitive robotics program started only three years ago, and this is the team's debut into the VEX World Competition. RHS students Mark Bell, Judah Benjamin, Kade Henderson, Adwit Satyawadi and Connor Tasik worked together to design, build, code and program a robot that would outperform their opponents.

    "All the team members are very motivated and work extremely hard and have a chemistry that gets work done," said RHS robotics coach Rus Hays. "They all have very different personalities but have the love of robotics that ties them together. These differences are what makes them so special. They were quite excited to advance."

    Brentwood Middle had two other teams compete in the State tournament; Grassland Middle had three: and Brentwood High had one.

    "This is the largest number of teams that WCS has ever had at the State tournament," said WCS instructional technology coach Tina Finley. "It's even more incredible because the tournament was smaller this year due to COVID-19. Out of the 99 teams in attendance, eight were from Williamson County Schools."

    In each robotics competition, students have to submit an engineering notebook, which is a daily log of the design, building and engineering process. Students are also interviewed by a panel of judges, who ask about the development of the robot and the team's workflow. Teams compete in the two-part skills challenge. The first part asks students to earn points in a one-minute solo run and in autonomous mode. The second stage is the main event where teams are paired together to cooperatively score as many points as possible.

    The students who competed in the State competition are listed below:

    Brentwood Middle

    • Carter Hunt, Carter Smith, Harrison Penn and Ben Schwartz
    • Jasmine Merrikh, Connor Harris and Colt King
    • Caitlyn Arnold and Ashley Xu

    Grassland Middle

    • Noah Sylvester, Will Presley and Ryan Hodge
    • Olivia Wright and Logan Hiles
    • Charlie Terrell and Braden Coleman

    Brentwood High

    • Mannan Goel, Syon Goel, Angie Dai and Himesh Patel

    Ravenwood High

    • Mark Bell, Judah Benjamin, Kade Henderson, Adwit Satyawadi and Connor Tasik