Valley City HS Robotics Wins the VEX State Championship

TR Staff
Staff Writer

Special to Times-Record
On Saturday the Valley City High School Robotics club entered two teams in the State VEX Tournament. One of the teams, made up of Blake Triebold, Derek Bear, and Ezra Hanse went on to win the State Title. Besides being the Tournament Champions, they also finished in first place winning the Skills Award. This is awarded to the team that individually scores the most points on the Skills Field. The final award of the tournament is the Excellence Award. This is the most prestigious award given out at a VEX tournament. The award is determined by the judges before the elimination round. It is based upon robot design, professionalism of the team, the skills competition, thoroughness of their Engineering Design Journal, and an interview. This award was also presented to the Triebold, Bear, Hanse team. The recipients of the Excellence Award are given an invitation to the VEX Robotics World Championship Tournament held in Louisville, KY in April.
The robotics club led by advisor, Annette Beattie, started meeting after school last fall. “All students involved have put in countless hours preparing for the state tournament. It is impressive to see so many students working so diligently pursuing their passion of creating, coding, and performing,” said Beattie. “This winning team chose a catchy team name of Bob’s Little Builders. It is important to have a name that can easily be remembered when choosing an alliance. It was fun to hear the crowd murmuring about Bob’s Little Builders because they were impressing those in attendance.”
VEX Robotics matches are played on a 12’ x 12’ field. They start with 15 seconds of autonomous time where the robot is programmed in advance to move by itself and score points. The next minute and 45 seconds the students run their robot with a joystick to score as many points as possible.
In January Triebold, Bear, and Hanse entered several VEX tournaments in Grand Forks and Minnesota. They increased their performance each tournament they entered. Every week they tore apart their robot and made it better and recorded the changes in their Engineering Design Journal. They also put in countless hours perfecting their autonomous programming. They received the Design Award at one these tournaments.
There were 26 teams in the State Tournament including teams from Grand Forks Central, Red River, Grafton, Cavalier and more. These tournaments are run like many all-day sports tournaments with qualifying rounds (pool play) first. Then based on the number of wins, teams are ranked. The Valley City team finished with the number one ranking being the only undefeated team in qualifying rounds winning all 8 matches. They chose a Red River team to be their alliance team through the elimination round of the tournament. The other Valley City team made up of Josh Lokken, Jakob Maley and Colby Jett also had a good showing for a brand-new team finishing in the middle of the pack, a great improvement from previous tournaments.
There is both a high school robotics and a middle school robotics club. The middle school club had two teams enter the FIRST LEGO League robotics regional competition in January. One team qualified for the state tournament held at UND this past Saturday. The team members were Colby Jett, Jaxen Haugen, Hayden Botz, Michael Beutler, Braedon Beyer, and Peyton Puckett. They finished 17th out of 40 teams.
The Valley City High School Robotics Team will be fundraising to compete at the Worlds competition in Louisville. If any organizations or individuals would like to donate to help send them to the Louisville, please contact Annette Beattie at The team can also present at organization meetings.