• Published April 5, 2022

    Five Brentwood Middle robotics teams will make their first in-person appearances at the Dallas VEX Robotic World Championship at the beginning of May. 

    The Mad Scientists team, which includes Connor Harris, Austin Schul and Colt King, are the Teamwork Champions and won the Excellence Award. The Steves, which includes Leyton Stevenson, Jack Harwell, McCale French, Jasmine Merrikh and Izzy Aulino, placed second in the teamwork category and won the Design Award.

    "I knew the teams were doing well and making weekly progress, but I was not expecting two teams to come in first and second at the State Championship," said BMS robotics teacher Debra Schaefer. "That was a culmination of hundreds of hours of hard work and practice, and I love that they learned determination and dedication pay off."

    Another team, consisting of Cameron Work and Neel Inavolu, earned the Think Award and placed fifth in the teamwork category. BMS students William Pankow, Andrew Yawn and Jett Holt also advanced, as did Bryson Breece, Caitlyn Arnold and Ashley Xu. Bryson took the place of his classmate Emerson Wille, who competed in the team this year but is not attending the World Championship.

    To qualify for the tournament in Dallas, teams competed in the 2022 VEX IQ Middle School State Championship, which challenged students to build a robot to score as many points as possible by putting balls into goals on a rectangular field. At the end of the 60-second match, the robot had to be able to hold onto a bar and hang. Students compete in teamwork and skills challenges and participate in interviews with judges.

    "It's both nerve-wracking and exciting watching the students compete in matches," said Schaefer. "It is so awesome to see how quickly they troubleshoot and work through issues. There are so many complex factors at play, and it is really impressive what they have accomplished as middle school engineers."

    In addition to the teams listed above, the following WCS students also qualified for the VEX Robotic World Championship: Nikhil Inavolu, Brentwood Middle; Kesh Patel, Brentwood Middle; Preetham Dyapa, Sunset Middle; Vihaan Bussa, Woodland Middle; and Teddy Alapati, Clovercroft Elementary.