A three-team alliance merged victorious at the K-12 VEX Robotics Competition held at the University of New Mexico’s Centennial Engineering Center on Jan. 27, 2018.

The winners of the best of three final rounds were:

  • Navajo Prep Robotics from Navajo Preparatory School,
  • School of Dreams Team 2 from School of Dreams Academy
  • and the Cleveland Colts from Cleveland Middle School.

Only six of the 28 teams competing in the competition moved on to the final rounds to form two three-team alliances: the Blue Team and the Red Team.

The sound of cheering fans filled the air. Francisco Viramontes said it is a sight to see watching kids run around with giant robots in their hands preparing for their match.

In the final match the Red Team — which included Navajo Prep Robotics, School of Dreams Team 2 and the Cleveland Colts — faced off with the Blue Team — which included SPX Team 2, School of Dreams Team 3 and School of Dreams Academy.

In the first round of the final match, the Blue Team’s robot started strong by stacking cones for points. But halfway through the match, one of the team’s robots fell over and off its wheels, leaving the team with one less robot, giving the Red Team an easy first win.

In the second round of the final match, the Red Team’s robots consistently scored points to win the competition 2-0.

Logan Slimp of Navajo Preparatory School said the robot took the team a week and a half to build.

“We (in the VEX Robotics Competition) have different teams and skill competitions, and everybody tries to come together…We’re trying to mainly get the word out about doing hands-on activities for kids to get them used to building stuff and being technologically aware (of) what's around them to try to stimulate awareness in engineering and science fields so they are inspired to pursue these fields going into their careers,” said Chris Torres, a UNM senior studying chemical engineering, who announced various parts of the event.

Students must work together to create their robots and follow various guidelines.

“They have to design and build their robot. It has a certain set of requirements: you have to use certain materials, the robot cannot be bigger than a certain size and they have to program it on their own,” said ASK Academy Coach Nevelyn Headrick.

The students are randomly assigned to teams throughout the day, allowing them to work with a variety of other students and ultimately teach them about teamwork, she said.

“It’s really fascinating how all of these kids can get all of these robots together and do the different things with them...and compete,” said Adam Lopez, a UNM freshman majoring in electrical engineering.

“I’ve always had a passion for robotics, I found the robotics club on campus...It was really nice to find a group people who shared my interests,” said Ben Block, a senior from the ASK Academy.

Amy Byres is a culture reporter at the Daily Lobo. She primarily writes profiles on DACA recipients. She can be contacted at culture@dailylobo.com or on Twitter @amybyres12.

Dalton Padilla is a multimedia reporter at the Daily Lobo. He can be contacted at multimedia@dailylobo.com or on Twitter @DaltonOPadilla.