Winners from first VEX Robotics State Championship at MSU advance to national and international competition

teams vie for points in VEX Robotics competitionSome of Michigan’s most talented young engineers and programmers from middle and high schools across the state are headed to national and international competition after winning the state championship hosted by Michigan State University.  They were among 48 teams competing in Michigan’s first VEX Robotics State Championship at MSU on Feb. 24.

VEX Robotics competitions are designed to inspire students to pursue careers in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) fields. Using the VEX Robotics Design System, student teams design, build and program robots, then work together to obtain the most points possible on the challenge field. Top teams and alliances advance to national and international competitions.

An alliance of three middle school teams from “Youthville Detroit” in Highland Park (teams 4540A, B and C) was named State Tournament Champions.  The Youthville Detroit 4540C team was also recognized with the Innovate award. The “ThunderChicken” team from Utica Community Schools in Sterling Heights won the high school Excellence Award, the highest award presented in the VEX Robotics Competition. The recipient of this award is a team that exemplifies overall excellence in building a well rounded VEX robotics program. The “VEX Raptors” team from Haslett High School was awarded the Design Award.  Each of these teams will represent Michigan at both the U.S. National VEX Robotics Championship – Middle and High School Divisions, March 7-9, in Ralston, Neb.; and the international 2013 VEX Robotics High School World Championship, April 17-20 in Anaheim, Calif.Youthville Detroit team alliance with championship award

The “Youthville Detroit” 4540D team won the middle school Excellence Award and was also recognized as winner of both the Programming Skills and Robot Skills awards.  They have qualified for both the U.S. National VEX Robotics Championship – Middle School Division, and the international 2013 VEX Robotics Middle School World Championship.

Tournament finalists were “Vextreme Velocity” and “Vexellent” teams from Cranbrook Schools in Bloomfield Hills, and the “Youthville Detroit” 4540E team.  In addition, the group of teams from Cranbrook received a Judges Award.  Other award winners were “Unidentified”, also from Cranbrook Schools, receiving the Build Award; “Lansing Catholic MSU Team” from Lansing, receiving the Create Award; and  “Grandville High – Leaver” from Grandville, receiving the Sportsmanship Award.

ThunderChicken team with their Excellence AwardThe Youthville Detroit, Lansing Catholic and Haslett teams are among 31 school-based VEX Robotics teams sponsored by the MSU College of Engineering with the help of grant funding from the Motorola Solutions Foundation, through its Innovation Generation grant program.  The grant has allowed MSU to expand its VEX Robotics program, targeting historically underrepresented middle school and high school students in the Detroit, Grand Rapids, and Lansing school districts.

The VEX Robotics State Championship at MSU is sponsored by the Motorola Solutions Foundation and hosted by the MSU College of Engineering Recruitment and K-12 Outreach Office. Judges for the tournament included MSU College of Engineering alumni representing top employers from across the state, including General Motors, Dart, Whirlpool, Denso, Autodesk, Behr, and ABB, as well as members of the College of Engineering alumni board and faculty.