Allegan County News & Union Enterprise

Plainwell hosts robotics competition

By Jason Wesseldyk
Sports Editor

A total of 60 teams competed in the Second Annual Plainwell Robotics Tournament on Saturday, Nov. 12, and Sunday, Nov. 13.
The Plainwell Robotics Club hosted the tournament and were represented by a total of 12 teams: seven in the middle school division on Saturday and five in the high school division on Sunday.
“Both days of the tournament went very well,” PRC communications coordinator Lisa Cook said. “Teams and coaches had a good time and were able to watch other teams and learn from them.”
In addition to Plainwell, schools represented in the middle school division included Caledonia, Grandville, Grand Rapids, Jenison and Traverse City. The high school division included teams from DeWitt, Caledonia, Fennville, Grandville, Grand Rapids, Napoleon, Okemos and Saranac as well as Plainwell.
“Other teams and coaches commented on how well each tournament was run and that they enjoy coming to Plainwell for the tournament,” Cook said. “Many said they will continue to participate in our tournaments as long as we host them.”
This year’s tournament included a few tweaks from last year’s inaugural event.
“We changed some things to make the tournament run more smoothly,” Cook said. “For instance, each team gets a table with their team number on it. We put these numbers up on the bleachers behind each set of tables to help our volunteers who were queuing teams and so help the notebook judges easily find each team they were assigned to interview.”
The PRC also worked with the Plainwell Boosters Club to streamline lunch orders.
“We’ll evaluate how things went and make more changes for next year’s tournament,” Cook said.
Team Trial and Error had the best showing of Plainwell’s middle school teams. The squad—comprised of Erica Klein, Mai Nguyen, Liam Preuniniger and Lucas Stoll—was ranked first going into the elimination rounds.
And while knocked out of the competition during their quarterfinals match—along with Plainwell teams Demoted Rookies and B.A.T.T.L.E—Trial and Error did receive the Amaze Award from the judges.
The Amaze Award is given to the team that has built the most consistently high scoring and competitive robot.
The middle school tournament was won by an alliance of teams from Grandville and Grand Rapids.
In the High School division, team So Many Problems had the best showing for Plainwell, making it to the quarterfinals before being eliminated. The team of Owen Ferris, Danielle Klein and Sam Bacon were also awarded the Think Award, which is given to the team with the most effective and consistent programming strategies and solutions to solving the game challenge.
The high school tournament was won by an alliance of two teams from Grandville.
“We’d like to thank all the volunteers to helped to make these two days memorable for all participating teams,” Cook said.
“All of our students worked hard on their robots to have something ready to compete with this weekend. It was the first tournament for all of our teams and we’re very proud of what all of these teams have accomplished so early in the season and are excited to see how they improve and progress throughout the rest of the season.”
Each team can compete in two more tournaments throughout the season, with many scheduled to travel to Napoleon on Dec. 3 and Jenison in January.
“If any teams qualify for the state and national tournaments, their season would be extended,” Cook said.
For more information about the PRC, visit https://www.plainwellroboticsclub.org/. For information about VEX Robotics, visit to https://www.vexrobotics.com/.

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