On March 1st, Loveland Middle School VEX Robotics team 97310A Andrometa qualified for the 2023 VEX Robotics World Championship in Dallas, Texas. This will make them the first ever Loveland VEX Robotics team to qualify for the World Championship. They will join nearly 3,000 teams from around the world to compete to be the world champion.
Loveland has an extensive robotics program with two FIRST Tech Challenge teams at the high school, four high school VEX teams, four middle school VEX teams, and 27 FIRST Lego League teams. Out of all of these teams, Andrometa was able to rise to the top and be the only Loveland Robotics team to qualify for a world championship this year.
Each year, VEX teams are given a game to compete in, with this year’s VEX game being “Spin Up.” Every match begins with a 15-second autonomous period in which the robot is pre-programmed to move and score without any driver input and followed by 105 seconds of driver control. Matches are played in two opposing alliances of two, a red alliance and a blue alliance, and the alliance that scores the most points wins. During both periods, robots are required to shoot discs into frisbee golf-type goals, but they need to be precise because if a robot misses, it may instead score points for the opposing alliance. There are also four rollers positioned on the sides of the field that robots can spin to their alliance colors to score additional points. At the end of the match, teams must expand their robots to cover as many tiles as possible and they receive points for each tile that they cover. During a match, teams have a variety of objectives to complete to score the most points. After a series of qualifying matches, top teams select alliances to compete in the elimination rounds, and the top alliance advances.
In addition to this, teams can also compete in skills matches where the robot is the only one on the field. This balances out any bad luck that teams may experience during randomization and allows teams to showcase their robot’s performance. At the end of the tournament, the top skills teams advance. This is how Andrometa was able to qualify for the 2023 VEX Robotics World Championship.
In an interview with The Loveland Roar, Andrometa team member Sarah Papsdorf (8) said that “when it ended, well it was kind of hard to believe,” and that “there were like sometimes like parts of on our way home and stuff where I realized oh my gosh, we’re actually going.” Later, Andrometa team member Jay Matusak (8), said that the most exciting part of attending Worlds is that the tournament is “really international,” and that “it’s 50 countries and I’m really excited to meet people from those 50 countries.” While reflecting on the season, Isabel Fordos (8) said that her favorite memories from the season were “the times that we would take breaks and just talk and have fun as a team.”
Make sure to root for Andrometa as they represent Loveland at this high-level championship. If you meet any of the team members, be sure to congratulate them, as qualifying for Worlds is a huge accomplishment and a source of pride for our entire Loveland community.
Full Interview Transcript:
Q: Congratulations on qualifying, what are you most excited for about going to Dallas?
Sarah Papsdorf: Just kind of like the experience. I’ve seen a few videos of different parts of worlds, and it just looks like a lot of fun.
Jay Matusak: I’m most excited about the fact that it’s really international. There are some things where Worlds is just the United States and Canada, but here, it’s 50 countries and I’m really excited to meet people from those 50 countries and to really get that experience.
Isabel Fordos: I’m excited about meeting the different teams because it’s really exciting that we’re one of the teams that gets to go to Worlds and it’s really just a wonderful experience.
Q: What was it like to hear that you guys were going to Worlds?
Jay Matusak: Well, we qualified through skills so there wasn’t really a well we won the thing now we're going to Worlds, or we won the trophy, it was staying at the top of a leaderboard for like 5, 7, 8 hours.
Q: What about the moment when you found out that it was finalized?
Sarah: Well, when it ended, well it was kind of hard to believe, there were some times like parts of on our way home and stuff where I realized oh my gosh, we’re actually going.
Jay Matusak: Yeah, my main freak out was with a friend over text it was an ‘oh gosh’ kind of conversation that was a lot of that.
Q: What’s your guys’ favorite memory from this season so far?
Jay Matusak: I personally think, so, I think it was either winter break, it was some time in the winter, and we were all really stressed about the robot, and we just took a second and we went outside and built a snowman. It was the first snow of the year, and that was just so much fun, and I feel like we got closer as a team.
Isabel Fordos: My favorite parts of the season were the times that we would take breaks and just talk and have fun as a team.
Sarah Papsdorf: Me and Isabel were already friends, but I’ve gotten to know Jay really well.
Jay Matusak: I've gotten to know these two, we really did not know each other.
Q: Do you guys plan on continuing robotics this season and if so, in what way are guys thinking about continuing?
Isabel Fordos: Well, I’d really like to get onto one of the FTC teams because it's a way to get into something in high school and kinda just have that area where you can be yourself.
Sarah Papsdorf: I know, well especially after this season, I’ve spent a lot of time working on the robot and I’ve really learned how much I love building so I want to try out for FTC and possibly get on the build subteam.
Jay Matusak: It’s my first year with robotics, so I don’t know what I’m doing. I know that these two, their dads are engineers, they kind of grew up around engineering, I’ve got other stuff going on, I’m kind of split between a couple of different things like theater, band, robotics, but robotics has been so much fun and so good to me that it’s going to be hard to pick.