VEX teams aim for state

by Adam Bright/Staff Writer

The VEX robotics team’s almost four-month season end is coming up.  One team, out of the five high school and three junior high teams GC has,  is currently ranked third in the state and also third in the world with Indiana having the top three robot teams in the world.

To be ranked third in the world takes lots of time and practicing. Caleb Stoeffler, 11, said “Our club has practice every Tuesday and Thursday for about two hours. However, throughout the entire season my team comes in an hour and half before school starts, giving us more time. Since I have sports at the beginning of the season it is important to get in early and get the robot ready for my programmer.”

A strong team like VEX has many strengths, and also often skills that can be improved. Austin Robinson, 12, said “I think our biggest strengths are being able to do more at once with the design we came up with.”

Stoeffler said, “We all have great communication within the team. We all have our own jobs and ideas to work on and we get things done faster.” Stoeffler also said, “Our communication with other teams outside our school is a little weak. We have some weakness with deciding on ideas as well.”

Nick Kerkhof, VEX sponsor, commented on the team’s goals. “If you asked our team, I think Goal 1 is to qualify for state and then we start to work our way up from there to winning the world championship. Having the opportunity to play and compete in front of 10,000 people would be something that is pretty special.”

Robinson talked about the aspect of the team he handles. “My personal favorite part about VEX is the programming.” He also said, “My favorite part about building is finding tricks and using parts for other purposes than what they were intended for.”

Kerkhof said he enjoyed watching all the long hours pay off for the students. “ My favorite part of VEX is competing and watching students succeed in something that they put so much time and effort into.” Stoeffler said, “I do enjoy whenever something works the first time and it works all the time, knowing that something I build is making the robot work to the best of its ability.”

The VEX team has state competitions coming up, then the U.S. Open, and then the World competition. Kerkhof said, “I think the easiest way to reach that ultimate goal is to continually work hard and look to improve.  Ultimately by doing that you will get the opportunity to achieve that goal.”

Students can learn many skills from VEX. Kerkhof said, “I want the students to have a good time and learn.  There is a lot more to learn than just engineering. Robotics, like many other sports or activities, teaches a lot of the life skill that are needed to succeed.”