By Tamas Mondovics

Following its success of earning a Judge’s Award and a Tournament Champion win at the competition in Dandridge last month, the Johnson County Middle School Robotics Team looked confidently to compete in the state tourney earlier this month. As expected, the students did not disappoint teachers, parents, fellow students and robotics fans after winning the State Competition in Brentwood, Tennessee on March 2, and 3, effectively earning a trip to the Vex Robotics World Championship. JCMS’ Joco Robos are one of four teams in the state to make the cut and represent their school and community. The event will once again take place at the Kentucky Exposition Center 937 Phillips Ln., in Louisville, Kentucky, starting with the VEX Robotics Competition and VEX U portion of the event on April 25-28, 2018, followed immediately by VEX IQ Challenge portion April 29-May 1. Presented by the Northrop Grumman Foundation, the tournament brings together top robotics teams in the VEX IQ Challenge, VEX Robotics Competition, and VEX U under one roof.

According to tourney officials, the competition celebrates the participating students’ accomplishments as it includes 160 top teams from events held in cities around the world from June 2017 to March 2018. The teams will play the current VEX Robotics Competition game, In the Zone. As it was reported by The Tomahawk last month, JCMS’ Robotics Teams have won many awards and titles including, The Sportsmanship Award, the Robot Skills Champion Award, three Tournament Champion Awards, and two Design Awards. The Design Award and a first-place win at their competition in Clinton, TN on February 10th and a Design Award and Skills Award at the Dandridge Competition on February 17 earned the program a chance to clinch the state title and advance to the world championship. Team A members are Dillon Long, builder, and driver; Brandon Sutherland, programmer; Jackie Jensen, journalist. Team B members are Wyatt Decker, programmer and driver; Damon Thompson, builder; McGreger Barnhill, journalist. With no prior knowledge of robotics, the students have mastered the designing and building their robots along with their programming and modifying code. Ahead of the state tourney JCMS team sponsor and teacher, Susan Quave, emphasized her confidence in her students when she said, “We have six first-year robotics students, and it will not surprise me if we make another trip to the World Competition.”

Way to go JCMS.