Blaine high school students Vincent Lee, l., and Cody Hollander won the TSA VEX Robotics National Championship while competing at the Technology Student Association National Conference in Dallas. Photo courtesy of Jim Nelson.
Two Blaine high school graduates walked away from a national robotics competition in Texas with their heads held high after placing first among a field of hundreds.
Cody Hollander and Vincent Lee, who both graduated from Blaine high school in June, won the VEX Robotics National Championship while competing at the Technology Student Association (TSA) national conference in Dallas on June 24.
The pair secured the top spot after two days of qualifying heats and finals.
The TSA is a national, non-profit career and technical student organization for middle and high school students with a strong interest in technology. Blaine high school’s chapter has been active since 2001 and has reached the finals several times. Hollander and Lee’s win is the first time Blaine’s TSA participants have taken first place at nationals, Blaine computer technology teacher Jim Nelson said.
The high school began offering a robotics class at the beginning of the 2010/2011 school year, and Hollander was one of the first students to sign up for the class.
Hollander qualified for the national robotics competition after competing in the TSA-sponsored VEX Round Up in March.
The Dallas competition involved building wheeled robots that can stack plastic tubes onto goalposts, Nelson said.
The competition took place in a 12-foot-by-12-foot arena where the remote-controlled robots competed for points by stacking the most tubes on their own goalposts while trying to prevent their opponents from scoring points.
At the end of the qualifying rounds, the 24 remaining teams were combined into eight, three-team alliances. Each alliance competed in a tournament format until one was left, the members of which shared the championship.
“Blaine’s team had the good fortune to be chosen to be part of an alliance with the top seeded teams, Nelson said. “There were a lot of good robots and good drivers competing, and the alliance you become a part of makes all the difference in the end.”