Ripley Middle School robotics team qualifies for states

Brenda Chancey Brown
Parker Tabor, Patrick Bragg, Isaac Butcher, Kaiden Legg and Jayse Casto will compete at the state robotics competition.

Although the 2020-2021 team was unable to work together until the end of February, the Robot Wranglers from Ripley Middle School have earned a place in the state robotics competition.

Due to COVID-19 restrictions, only one team is representing Ripley Middle School this year.

This year’s team consists of two seventh-graders and three sixth-graders. These diligent students have been meeting after school and on weekends to try and make up for lost time this season.

Hopes of qualifying for this year’s state event rested with only two competitions on March 13 and March 27.

The first was a live remote match system in which students were paired up with teams from all over the world to collaborate and strategize ways to earn points by manipulating various obstacles on the field. Teams were also interviewed via Zoom and submitted their digital engineering notebook for judging. As the day progressed, Ripley’s team kept improving and received the Teamwork 3rd Place Award.

March 27th was a remote skills-only event. Teams were allocated a 20-minute block to complete a robot inspection and six skills runs. Three skills runs were conducted by drivers and the other three by programmers. Once again, the team went through an online interview with a panel of judges and submitted their digital engineering notebook for judging.

Competitors were from all over the world, including Canada, Dubai, Taiwan and several states.

Ultimately, the perseverance and dedication of the Robot Wranglers paid off as the team was awarded the Judges Award for the tournament and ended up ranking second in West Virginia for skills at the middle school level for the season.

Coached by Brenda Chancey Brown, the middle school teammates will represent the county in the live remote event via Zoom on Friday and Saturday, April 9 and 10.