Grandville Public Schools Qualify 10th Team for VEX Robotics State Championship

Grandville Public Schools has always been a leader in competitive robotics. The school district started with one High School FIRST Robotics team in 1998.

GRANDVILLE, Mich., Jan. 9, 2015 /PRNewswire/ -- Grandville Public Schools has always been a leader in competitive robotics. The school district started with one High School FIRST Robotics team in 1998. That team, founded by a Grandville High School teacher and some engineers from X-Rite, has multiplied over the years. There are now three FIRST Robotics teams at Grandville High School, and they are known across North America for student-designed, student-built robots.

This year, the RoboDawgs program has set new records in another robotics program, VEX Robotics. The VEX Robotics Competition is the largest and fastest growing high school and middle school robotics competition in the World. There are currently more than 10,000 high school and middle school VEX teams across all 50 states and 32 countries. Grandville High School and Middle School both field multiple VEX Robotics teams which compete in weekly robotics leagues, as well as competitions at the regional, state, and international level.

Last Saturday, Grandville Public Schools qualified its 10th VEX Robotics team for the Michigan State Championship to be held on February 22 at MSU's Jenison Fieldhouse. This sets a new record related to the number of teams one school district has advanced to a State Championship - for Grandville, in the State of Michigan, and in North America. In comparison, Grandville had never advanced more than four teams to the VEX State Championship in previous years.

In addition to qualifying for the State Championship, Grandville VEX teams have brought home 29 trophies over the last three months - another District record.

A pair of Grandville teams (244A and 288C) won the West Michigan Early Fall VEX League, and another Grandville High School team (288B) won the Excellence Award.

At the AutoDesk West Michigan VEX Tournament, Grandville teams won the Build Award (team 248E), the Create Award (team 216C) and a Judges Award (team 244A). Team 216G brought home a Tournament Champion trophy from this event, team 216D won the Programming Skills event, and team 288E brought home a second place trophy in the Robot Skills event.

The RoboDawgs moved on to the Walmart Northwest Michigan VEX Qualifier, where three Grandville teams played together to earn Tournament Champion trophies (teams 216A, 244F, and 288C). Team 216A claimed the Excellence Award at that event, and Grandville teams also brought home the Create (team 248F), Energy (team 244D), and Think (team 244A) awards.

Grandville teams did exceptionally well in the West Michigan Late Fall VEX League, with an all-Grandville alliance (teams 244A, 244C, and 288A) finishing in second place. Team 216A took top honors in the League, bringing home the Excellence award.

An alliance of Grandville teams (216A, 248E, and 288C) also won the next state qualifying event, the West Michigan Holiday VEX Tournament. Team 248E won the Excellence award, and team 216D brought home the Programming Skills trophy. The Design award was won by Grandville's 216C.

More than 100 Grandville High School and Middle School students compete on 20 local VEX teams. Students on teams qualifying for the State VEX Championship include:

Grandville Middle School: Josh Symonds, Kyle Petersen, Ingrid Perea, Jordynn West, Luke Timmer, Adrianna Nelson, Daron A. Lee, Will Doyle, Gavin Helder, Zach Velko, Kayla Simonte, Carlos Bays, Juddah Hulsebus, Owen Green, Isaac Fitzpatrick, Aiden Vanderveen, and Gibson Carpenter

Grandville High School: Brittany VanTuinen, Evan Vandermate, Drake Sytsma, Jason Spoelman, Coley Spicuzza, Fred Pokora, Gavin Peddie, Jarod Parks, Ariel Merrill, Ariana Martinez, Rebecca Licata, Timothy Leaver, Tyler Jack-Shilling, Anneke Howerzyl, Skijlar Howerzyl, Andy Hobelsberger, Heath Haverdink, Dakota Hamilton, Gabby Gozzi, Michael Furman, Matthew Djumoah, Breanna DeJong, Taylor Burns, Lucas Buck, Julianna Buck, Nickolas Brattain, Thomas Bos, Josh Bolter, Linnea Berg

The Grandville High School RoboDawgs are one of the United States' largest and most accomplished high school robotics teams. Grandville Public Schools has been a leader in educational robotics for more than 17 years. Beginning with one high school robotics team in 1998, the district's program has now grown to include more than 44 teams based at the District's Robotics & Engineering Center. More than 700 students, from fourth through twelfth grades, participate on Grandville robotics teams, designing, building, and programming robotics for competitions around the world. Grandville has one of largest Lego League programs in the country, with the District fielding 21 teams this year. These students go on to compete in the District's VEX Robotics program at the middle school level, as well as the FIRST Robotics competition and the Great American River Race at the high school level. Team members build quadcopters and underwater rovers for high school competitions in the Midwest. This year, the RoboDawgs' high-altitude balloon program is expected to achieve long distance sustained flight through neutral buoyancy for the first time.

For more information, contact RoboDawg Head Coaches: Mike Evele - Email, (616) 916-0300 or Doug Hepfer - Email, (616) 540-3239

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