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HMS robotics team wins VEX sportsmanship award
MELISSA NECH Great Bend Tribune Pictured are Augustus Anders, Hoisington Middle School robotics coach, Jhadyn Turner, Brody Rossman, Lincoln Blankenship, Grady Crowdis and coach Anne Selfridge.

HOISINGTON — Hoisington Middle School Robotics students headed to the VEX Robotics World Competition on Saturday, May 7. They competed with at least four different countries in their division alone and met students from all over the world during their three-day competition in Dallas, Texas, May 8-10. Teams represented at least 49 states and 39 world-wide nations. VEX Robotics is a leading provider of educational and competitive robotics products to schools, universities and robotics teams around the world.

“We qualified for Worlds by being the Kansas state champions, which we won on March 5th,” said Coach Anne Selfridge. “The teams took home the top four spots at the State competition.” In total, the students participated in four competitions including the State contest. All competitions took place in Garden City.

Raising funds

“Since then, we have all been working hard to raise money and plan the trip. We have had so much community support,” said Selfridge. The students, led by Brody Rossman, began a campaign to gather the necessary funds to make the trip to Dallas. Making the trip were Jhadyn Turner, Lincoln Blankenship, Grady Crowdis, and Rossman. HMS Robotics sold T-shirts and cutlery to help fund the trip. At least 28 individuals and businesses donated additional funds to meet the goal.

The experience

Competition in robotics contests is somewhat different than in the sports world. Assistant Coach Augustus Anders explained that two teams from different schools form an alliance to code their robots to work together to get balls into a basket in the middle of their game field. The points earned during the round are awarded to each team.

“Students learn perseverance, teamwork, creativity and programming,” he said. “They also learn to handle disappointment.”

Students had to come back from adversity when they had a motor blowup in their robot and only had an hour to find the problem and rebuild the motor. Coaches become bystanders as students are left to make decisions and solve problems on their own.

Sportsmanship is another skill highly valued at contests. Moderators, judges and officials are on the lookout for teams who become cheerleaders for other schools as well as their own teammates. Selfridge watched HMS students help reset the game fields and exhibit good teamwork and team spirit. Others observed this sportsmanship as well.

Finding out that HMS stood 52 out of 79 teams in their division, the coaches took the team back to the motel to start packing before awards had been given. But before they left the motel, Selfridge received a call to return to the arena because HMS had won an award. She said, “We left early because we had no clue. We went for the experience and they exceeded our expectations.” 

The students were awarded a World’s Trophy for Sportsmanship. Only eight schools out of 800 were given such an honor. HMS Robotics is the first team from Kansas to bring back a trophy from Worlds.


The hosts

The Robotics Education & Competition (REC) Foundation presented the 2022 VEX Robotics World Championship supported by Northrop Grumman Foundation. Student-led teams ranging from Elementary to University level showcased their game strategy, design, and teamwork skills. The Robotics Education & Competition (REC) Foundation’s mission is to increase student interest and involvement in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) by engaging students in hands-on, affordable, and sustainable robotics engineering programs.