On Saturday, February 20, Salt River High School (SRHS) held the VEX Robotics state qualifying competition for both high school and junior high. VEX Robotics is the ultimate STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Math) activity for middle and high school students. Verizon’s financial support helped SRHS host 40 high school and junior high teams from California and all over the state of Arizona to compete in this qualifying tournament.
The high school VEX Robotics Competition this school year was called “Nothing But Net,” and the middle school VEX IQ Challenge competition was called “Bank Shot.” Both competitions are exciting, fast-paced games where robots score by gathering balls and shooting them into nets. Robotics teams gain points through individual skills competition, alliances with other teams, speaking with judges about their robot design process and creating an engineering notebook. Robots are built, programmed and operated by the robotics teams.
The SRHS junior high robotics team, called the VEX IQ 10175 Eagles, was invited to the state tournament on Saturday, February 27, held at Microchip in Chandler. The team played well. It is ranked 14th overall in the state tournament and sixth in the state in skills, but it will not be moving on to the World Tournament, to be held this year in Louisville, Kentucky.
Student interaction didn’t stop at robotics competition. Visiting students were interested in the culture of the Salt River Pima-Maricopa Indian Community and were curious about the fry bread that SRHS students were selling at the event. Many of the visiting students are used to competing in robotics tournaments, but this may have been their first time visiting a tribal community. In addition to learning about teamwork, competition and creativity, they also learned a little bit about the rich culture of this unique Community. They will take this knowledge and experience back to their own communities throughout the region.
The SRHS robotics team, called the VEX VRC 6569 Eagles, traveled to Arizona State University on Saturday, March 5, to compete in the high school state championship event with the possibility of moving on to compete at the World Tournament.
Two SRHS students, Lou Patrick, 11th grade, and Nia Enos, 11th grade, attended the high school state championship, held on the Arizona State University campus.
“The morning was pretty good, we did all right. We scored a lot of points in our first match, with 194 points, but we lost most of our matches as well as having some technical difficulties,” said Patrick, who made it to state for a second time. “We had to fix the issue, but we continued. We met a lot of new people there. I feel we did our best as a team. It was a learning experience for next year. Next year we are going to have to try harder and practice more. This year I liked the way the game was set up; it was focused on picking up the balls and shooting them.”
The team ranked 24th out of 40-plus teams in the state. “We went to state and our job was to try and make it to [the] World [tournament in Kentucky],” said Enos. “Our balls wouldn’t make it into the robot and shoot, and we had to troubleshoot and find the problem.” Enos said his goal was to try his best and score as many points as possible for his team. “This was my first time, [and] it was fun. Sometimes it can get boring, but for me the fun part was being able to build the robot, and it can be hard too and you have to do a lot of problem-solving.”
On the junior high team, which also qualified for state, junior high girls Jessica Antone and Soledad Hernandez both liked being on the team. “My task was to pick up the balls that were near,” said Antone. “My job was to shoot,” said Hernandez.
“Sometimes it’s a lot of pressure, because it’s timed, and also [it’s stressful] when there is a lot of people around,” said Antone. Hernandez said she gets nervous because of the people watching, but it was good. “But then you have to watch the other teams. I like to build the robot; there is a little bit of everything involved, like math and engineering.”
The junior high team won the Robot Skills Champion Award by having the highest solo score at the SRHS tournament. “They scored 43 points during the season and this was the eighth highest score in the state out of 149 teams. They are also ranked in the top 250 in the world out of 4,356 teams,” said Remington. “They qualified for the state tournament because of their skills score, they ended the season ranked 14th place in the state out of 149 teams for the teamwork challenge and fourth in the state for skills.”
The high school team qualified for the State tournament that next Saturday, March 5th by having the 15th best score in Arizona out of 183 with a rank in the top 1000 in the world out of 11,359 teams.
The team consists of Tristen Juan, Lou Patrick, Julia Gutierrez, Divandre Holloway, and Nia Enos. For more about this competition, please visit this link: