Dallas, Texas (Action Works) April 25, 2010 – Colorado was well represented and had its best ever results at the 2010 VEX World Championships held in Dallas, Texas April 22 – 24. Three of the four teams were Berthoud and Loveland area teams, representing Berthoud High School (2 teams) and Bill Reed Middle School. The fourth team was representing Faith Christian Academy (the FUSE) from Arvada. All teams performed better than prior years and impressively all the teams placed in the top tier of their division (4 divisions Science, Technology, Engineering and Math with 100 teams in each division – 400 total teams from over 20 countries).
The FUSE placed second in their “Math” division and were eliminated in the Quarter Finals with a broken axle. The top placing Northern Colorado team came from Berthoud High School, “Heavy Metal” (with team members, Clay Rayment, John Neuhalfen, Tanner O’Leary, and Emily Birkmaier) placed fifth in their “Technology” division and were eliminated in the Quarter Finals rounds. The “Panzerfaust” team from Berthoud High School (with team members Jonathon Harvell, Chad Schlagel, Trevor Von Seggern and Tyler Freiberg) placed 15th in the same division. The Bill Reed Middle School team (Paul Earhart, Mark Stewart, Linda Baker and Chase Rayment) placed 26th against middle and high school teams in their “Science” division. The middle school team earned a “finalist” designation in the Cooperate Award category.
“The growth and maturity of the Berthoud teams were incredible this year,” said Robb Sommerfeld, Berthoud High School’s industrial technology teacher. “I am very proud of our students. They are competitive not just a state level but also at the national and international level, showing the strength of the program we started at Berthoud High just last year.” The maturity was evident when Berthoud High helped a team from Malaysia with a programming problem.
Liz Rayment, the Thompson School District robotics coordinator notes, “It says something about our school district that we placed in the top 2% in the World in a competition that was viewed on NASA TV by thousands of people. It says even more about the students on those teams and the volunteer coach Brad Von Seggern. The students might tell you, however, that meeting and talking to electrical engineer and Mythbuster Grant Imahara was their highlight.”
Student and team member, Emily Birkmaier, who took the coach role during Heavy Metal’s competition, was responsible for keeping the fast paced running score of the rounds in her head. Birkmaier said, “I found robotics to be a different perspective of math and the best part of the season was working together with the other Berthoud High School team.”
According to “Panzerfaust” robot driver Trevor Von Seggern, “It is a great feeling when you get to the end of a match and you have an epic battle and win. During the season the best part was brainstorming ideas for great robot designs and then putting them to work in a competition.”
John Neuhalfen summed up the season with, “In the beginning of the year, we did not even think we would win the state championship, much less rank 5th and 15th in our division at World.”
Photos by Ken Rayment