Holton, Southland earn robotics state tournament accolades; Mechbots team takes top award at state tournament

Published 8:23 am Tuesday, February 6, 2018

The Southland Middle School Mechbots team took the top award at the Vex Robotics State Tournament held in St. Cloud on Feb. 2-3.

The Excellence Award, won by Mechbots members Erik Shaw, Roman Camarillo-Olson, Trent Canterbury and Cody Krull, also meant the team was the winner of a trip to the World Championships, to be held in Louisville, Kentucky, April 25-28. Paula Mortenson is their adviser.

The Excellence Award is the highest award presented in the VEX Robotics Competition,  presented to a team that exemplifies overall excellence in creating a high quality VEX Robotics program, according to the state judges’ rules. Only one team earns the award.

I. J. Holton B team member, pictured from left, front, are Daniel Grush, Abby VanPelt and Blake VanPelt; back, Kirin Opstad, Kylie Davis, Ana Alabin, Namo Afanou, Ashlyn Blust and Saraya Donavan.

Email newsletter signup

This team “is a strong contender in numerous award categories. Criteria include rankings in the Design Award, tournament qualification and robot skills challenge categories.

Two teams from I.J. Holton Intermediate School in Austin also received awards. The Holton Engineers B Team earned the Judges Award, placed fifth overall and a trip to national U.S. Open competition in Council Bluffs, Iowa, in April.

Members of the I. J. Holton A team pictures, from left back, are Alejandra Mendoza, Claire Bliese and Katie VanPelt; kneeling, front, Elayna Blust, Adam Christianson, Andrew Thompson and Aggie McKichan.
Photo provided

The Judges Award goes to the team the judges decide is deserving of special recognition, based on a number of criteria, from exemplary effort and perseverance, to team accomplishments throughout the season. Team members are Namo Afanou, Kylie Davis, Kirin Opstad, Ana Alabin, Saraya Donavan, Blake VanPelt, Daniel Grush, Abby VanPelt and Ashlyn Blust.

The Holton Engineers Team A won the Build Award, given to a team that has built a well-crafted and constructed robot that also shows a clear dedication to safety and attention to detail, said adviser Kaylene Jensen. Judges in this category look for robots that have a professional, quality look to them. Among the criteria are efficient use of mechanical and electronic components, reliability on the competition field, and member interview and teamwork.

Team members are Alejandra Mendoza, Elayna Blust, Katie VanPelt, Adam Christianson, Claire Bliese, Aggie McKichan and Andrew Thompson.