Schools in Adams shine in VEX state contest

Published 9:17 am Wednesday, February 6, 2019

Both public and parochial schools in Adams came out on top of several Minnesota State VEX Tournament awards last weekend in St. Cloud, with some earning trips to world competition.

Southland elementary, middle school and high school teams excelled, as did elementary teams from Sacred Heart Catholic School.

Southland middle school coach Paula Mortenson was also awarded the Mentor of the Year Award, which honors a coach for their dedication and support of their teams.

Southland’s Mechbots team, Roman Olson, Santa Olson, Erik Shaw, Derek Fredericksen, Maciah Miller. Contributed photo.

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Southland’s high school team, called the Rebelbots, was ranked third in the state of 113 teams; an invitation to the world contest could come as a result. Team members are Max Schmitz, Isaac Himebaugh and Hallie Bergene.

The middle school Mechbots team of Roman Olson, Santa Olson, Erik Shaw, Derek Fredericksen and Maciah Miller earned the Sportsmanship Award.

The Roverbots Team of Wayland Gray, Jack Bruggeman, Cody Krull, Cash Day, Ella Mensink and Jud Atzl earned second in the state in Skills, out of 83 teams, Mortenson said. They also may earn a trip to the world contest.

Southland’s Roverbots team, Wayland Gray, Jack Bruggeman, Cody Krull, Cash Day, Ella Mensink, and Jud Atzl. Contributed photo.

The middle school Borderbots team earned the Judge’s Award as well. Team members are Riley Walerak, Mya Miller, Lukas Young, Brad Lagerstedt and Ben Nielsen.

Southland Elementary teams, coached by Paula Schmitz, also earned trips to the world contest. The Red team took the 2019 Teamwork Championship and Energy Award, while the Blue Team took home the STEM Award and Judges Award.

Sacred Heart elementary teams did well in the VEX IQ challenge. Team A earned both the Robot Skills Award and Energy Award. Team B took a second place in the Teamwork Championship, and took the Design Award and Sportsmanship Award. The team has qualified for a trip to the world contest, and Team A’s invitation is pending.

Southland’s Borderbots team, Riley Walerak, Mya Miller, Lukas Young, Brad Lagerstedt, Ben Nielsen. Contributed photo

Team A also competed in the middle school division. The team was second out of 20 teams from across the state going into finals, but a blip in failing to pick up one item kept them from advancing. Still, they were first in the state for skills this season; they have held their first place state slot the entire season except for one week.

They got a trophy at state for first place skills and also received the Energy Award for their enthusiasm throughout the event. They were Teamwork Champions, Skills and Excellence Award winners at the two regional tournaments they competed in.

“They have been an incredible group to work with and their individual gifts complement each other well,” said coach Sandy Johnson.

Sacred Heart teams, from left, front, Coach Jeremy Johnson, Abigail Steinkamp, Noah Goergen, Bryson Kellogg, Ethan Schammel, Brecken Kellogg, Micah Johnson and Coach Sandy Johnson; back, Theo Smith, Addison Retterath, Brandon Thome, Henry Wiste, Beau Sathre, Sadie Miller, Liliana Johnson, Brynn Sathre, Jaida Sorenson and Miriam Smith. Not pictured, Ben Waksdahl. Contributed photo.

Team B, whose members are fourth graders, had a rough start and wasn’t expected to make it into finals, but “somehow they ended up coming in third during qualifications and were paired with the fourth place team,” Johnson said. “The score to beat was 26, which they’ve never ever scored before, so I assumed they would be done. Well, they scored it” and took second place. They received the Design Award for their engineering notebook and judge’s interview, which earned them an invitation to the world championship. They also received the Sportsmanship Award.

Fourth-grader Brandon Thome said, “It was a great experience to see other teams, how they perform and how we can work together with them. I liked seeing the older kids and thinking about how good we can become someday.”