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Local Student Teams Take Home Trophies from WKCTC's Annual Robot Extreme Challenge

Published on Mar 13, 2018

PADUCAH, KY (03/10/2018) Nearly 200 students competed for top honors at the fourth annual Robot Extreme Challenge (RCX) held at West Kentucky Community and Technical College March 10.

With 32 teams participating in the competition, the most to compete in an RCX tournament at the college, the day's events were divided into a morning competition for elementary and high school student and an afternoon competition for middle school students. Rather than competing against one another, the teams competed against the clock and to see how well their pre-programmed robots performed to earn them the most points.

"We are thrilled with the turnout of students who participated in this year's competition," said Melissa Duncan, Challenger Learning Center at Paducah director and WKCTC RCX event coordinator. "As robotics continues to become more a part of our lives, more students could want to study in STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) disciplines, and that is why is so important to continue to offer competitions like this at the college."

Homeschool teams took first and second place in the high school division with Calloway County's SPARC Robotics winning first place and Cedars of Lebanon Christian Academy's Robotonauts of McCracken County taking second place.

"Today is an opportunity to help the younger kids out; that's one reason we're here. And we're here to test our limits and boundaries to see how much we can achieve," said SPARC Robotics team member Logan Mattingly.

Cedars of Lebanon Christian Academy's Circuit Smart won first place in the middle school division with Murray Middle School's Robo ev3lution 2.0 winning second place.

In the elementary division, RoboFury, also part of the McCracken County homeschool team, placed first with Lyon County's Robotics team winning second place.

The 2018 RCX competition was built around the "Body Works" theme. As the medical field changes, robotic technology can help people live longer, more productive lives. The teams constructed and pre-programmed their robots to complete task to simulate procedures such as mending broken bones, taking blood samples and injecting medication. During the competition, the teams' robot had to complete one or more tasks at a time and complete as many "Body Works" tasks as possible in three, three minute rounds. The top score was used to determine winners of each level.

The two top teams from each division qualified to compete in the State RCX Competition to be held in Lexington's Rupp Arena March 29.

Three new awards given at this year's competition - the Enthusiasm Award, which recognized the team with the most enthusiasm and sportsmanship; the Robot Design Challenge, which recognizes the team with a unique robot creation; and the Esprit De Corps Award, designed to recognize the team that demonstrated how success equals exceptional team work and value in their team's contributions.

Enthusiasm Award: Lyon County Elementary and Lyon County Middle School (Alpha) robotics teams.

Robot Design Challenge: Calloway County's Spiderbot Engineering (elementary) and Murray Middle School's Robo ev3lution 2.0.

Esprit De Corps Award: Heath Middle School's Piratechs 2 and Girls Scouts LOL (Love Our Legos). The LOL team represents Lone Oak and North Marshall middle schools and Marshall County High School.

"All of the students who participated today embrace this competition and its evident by the smiles on their faces. We in turn need to continue to embrace their passion and make them aware of our academic programs that lead to STEM careers," said Kevin O'Neill WKCTC vice president of Regional Workforce Training and Economic Development. "They are our future."

This year's competition was sponsored by the Tennessee Valley Authority, the Challenger Learning Center at Paducah and WKCTC.