By Heather Lusk
Two teams from Zionsville Community High School’s robotics club will be heading to Indianapolis to the VEX Robotics State Championship in March at Lucas Oil Stadium, with a goal to qualify for the world championship in April.
The first team qualified in November with its robot, Tesseract, during a competition in Indianapolis. The second team qualified Dec. 15 during a competition in Portage, where it received the excellence award that recognizes the best overall team. The team is ranked sixth in the world with its robot, Xenith.
Competition is expected to be high at the state competition because the top two teams in the world are from Indiana. But members of the Zionsville teams are confident about their chances of qualifying for the world championship.
Kevin Chen of the Xenith team said last year’s design was fairly basic, so the team spent the summer focusing on better designs.
“I think they’re just more reliable,” Chen said. “We have a pretty high chance of getting to worlds.”
The teams of three to five students compete throughout the year, rebuilding and redesigning their robots to improve them after each competition.
Joey Shao, the only freshman on the Xenith team, said he’s learned a lot this year.
“It’s a great experience for teamwork and communication,” he said.
Part of the competition is skills-based, requiring robots to accomplish objectives like turning a flag, putting a cap on a post or parking for a certain number of points. The other part of the competition is records-based, with each team recording designs, changes and goals for the robot.
“Everything we’re learning now applies to things we’ll do in the future,” Xenith team member Carlos Morales said. “You can implement this not just into robotics, but into your future career.”