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Area students help FHSU team earn national championships
Fort Hays State University logo

HAYS — Fort Hays State University’s chapter of the Technology and Engineering Education Collegiate Association won three national championships in eight competitive events against 15 other universities at the 80th annual International Technology and Engineering Educators Association conference in Atlanta, Ga.
The FHSU chapter, with 22 students and five sponsors, also had the most active members of any chapter attending.
Team members from the Golden Belt were senior student Blake Hinson from Great Bend, freshman Brandon Bartz from Larned and senior Devin Thomas from Russell.
For the second consecutive year, FHSU’s TEECA won the national VEX Robotics Competition. This year, FHSU competed with two robots that ultimately tied for first place.
“I couldn’t be more proud of this group of individuals, who constantly push boundaries and seek perfection,” said Eric Deneault, assistant professor of applied technology. “I look for bigger and better things in the future from this experienced team.” Deneault and Randy Jordan, assistant professor of applied technology, are the team sponsors.
The FHSU robotics team will advance to compete at the VEX Worlds competition in Louisville, Ky. Team members are Devin Thomas, team captain and engineer, programmer and driver; Davin Smith, engineer and mechanic; Tage Rothchild, engineer and mechanic; and Christian Wetter, machinist and document specialist.
FHSU also won the Live Manufacturing Competition, which required students to design and create a vintage Edison lamp while developing and managing a complete manufacturing assembly run producing a final product on site.

The FHSU TEECA transportation team earned the national title for the Transportation Competition. For the challenge, the team had to fly a Quad Copter with both first-person flight controls and autonomous flight controls through an obstacle course of stationary and moving targets.

In addition to the national championships, two FHSU team members won awards for their outstanding performance and dedication to TEECA and the FHSU Department of Applied Technology.
Davin Smith was awarded the 2018 ITEEA/Foundation for Technology and Engineering Educators Don Maley Outstanding Undergraduate Student Award. Smith has supported and promoted FHSU TEECA through a variety of roles, including president, vice president, and treasurer. He has participated on the robotics team for four years, earning two national championships, a second-place award at nationals, a third-place award at nationals and four regional championships.
Deneault was named a 2018 ITEEA Emerging Leader. The honor recognizes innovation, design and engineering educators who demonstrate a high level of competence and professional activity in the field of technology and engineering education.