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Salt River High School to Host VEX IQ Challenge Tournament

The Salt River High School junior high robotics team earned the judge’s award at the last VEX IQ competition in the fall. The team hopes to score high enough to make it to the state championship in March. Photo courtesy of Salt River Schools.

VEX Robotics Competitions are the ultimate task for 14 Salt River High School students. Robotics is an elective at SRHS, and the students carefully plan, design and build a robot to enter into robotics tournaments, testing their creations on the playing field. This year, Salt River High School will be hosting 30 teams during the Salt River VEX IQ Challenge Tournament on Saturday, January 21.

Salt River High School teacher and robotics coach Nathan Remington prepares the students for competitions. This year, he coaches 12 junior high and two high school students, who he says are very much interested in robotics.

“In the class, we’re teaching the kids how to build these robots and drive them, and some of the advanced kids program their robots. They all perform specific tasks. They perform during a game that we do every year. This year, the high school students are picking up star-shaped objects and throwing them over the wall to the other team. The other team throws the objects back, and the winner is determined by who can get the most tosses. The high school students work with metal parts. For the junior high students, it’s a similar concept, but with smaller and different objects, and they work with plastic parts,” said Remington.

In the VEX competitions, students are tasked with designing and building a robot to play against robots of other teams from around the Valley. STEM concepts are put to the test on the playing field as students learn lifelong skills in science, technology, engineering and math, as well as teamwork, leadership, communications and more. Robotics tournaments are held year-round at the regional, state and national levels. Last year, the Salt River team took home two awards. This year, the Eagles need to stack up their points in order to qualify for state.

“I think the students are going to do well. We have two teams registered to compete, and we might add another because we have a lot of new students this semester,” Remington said. “I expect that they’ll do pretty well. At the last tournament they finished in the top five. They did very well. I’m expecting that they’ll do that again, and maybe even win in if they can get the robot built, finished, and then have two weeks to practice. That should be plenty of time to practice. It’s going to be a fun event.”

The all-day VEX IQ Challenge Tournament starts at 8 a.m. at Salt River High School. Bring your family and students out to cheer on your local robotics fanatics!