Allegan County News & Union Enterprise News

Plainwell robotics teams qualify for world tournament

Team ‘Trial and Error’ (left) included (from left) Liam Preuninger, Mai Nguyen and Erica Klein. Team ‘Bad Bananas’ (right) included Luca Cassada, Blaine Rensi and Parker Montange. Both of these middle school teams from Plainwell Robotics qualified for the VEX World Championship Tournament in Dallas. (Photos provided)

By Jason Wesseldyk
Sports Editor

MONROE—A pair of middle school teams from the Plainwell Robotics Club punched their tickets to the VEX World Championship Tournament.
Team “Bad Bananas” and team “Trial and Error” are among the teams that earned a spot in the world tournament based on their performance at the Michigan State Robotics Tournament on Saturday, March 4, on the campus of Monroe County Community College.
The VEX World Championship Tournament is slated to begin Thursday, April 27, and run through Saturday, April 29, at the Kay Bailey Hutchison Convention Center in Dallas.
According to the event’s website:
“The VEX Robotics World Championship, presented by the Northrop Grumman Foundation, brings together the top VEX IQ Competition, VEX Robotics Competition, and VEX U teams from around the globe to celebrate their accomplishments and participate to be crowned champions.”
Bad Bananas placed 13th out of 54 teams and qualified for the World Championship by virtue of winning the Think Award. They earned the award for their work to develop and implement quality robot programming as part of their strategy to solve the game challenge.
Bad Bananas team members include Luca Cassada, Blaine Rensi and Parker Montange. They are coached by Sarah and Curtis Orr.
Trial and Error, meanwhile finished in 25th place. The team—consisting of members Liam Preuninger, Mai Nguyen and Erica Klein and coached by Marie Tsuji—qualified by achieving a high Skills score.
The Skills score is the total points accumulated during a one-minute driver-controlled phase, and a one-minute autonomous phase.
Four other teams from Plainwell also participated in the state tournament: team “Demoted Rookies”; team “B.A.T.T.L.E”; team “Three Engineers”; and team “The Hackers.”
Demoted Rookies. placed 18th. Team members are Mason Anderson, Kolton Johnson, Isaiah Looney-McPhillips Lucas Pauly.   are coached by Marcus Anderson.
B.A.T.T.L.E. placed 28th.  The team of Alexander Billheimier, Elliott Johnson, Rori Rosati and Joseph Sanderson is coached by Jeremy Sanderson and Brooke Billheimier.
Three Engineers—which includes team members Jackson Albrecht, Walker Clippinger, Caleb Williams and Ayden Young along with coach Matt Clippinger—placed 30th.
The Hackers placed 42nd.  Team members are Hunter Crouch, Aiden Glass, Liam Greene and Parker Stull, with Charles Crouch serving as coach.
 “Congratulations and thank you to all of our students, coaches and parents for a most challenging, educational, successful and enjoyable year,” Plainwell Robotics communications coordinator Lisa Cook said.

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