Robotics Team Moves On To Worlds
Oskaloosa, Iowa – A few honking horns, a bit on confetti in the air and lots of smiles marked the return of the Oskaloosa Robotics Team 4443 ‘Sock Monkeys’ to Oskaloosa after being selected to advance to Worlds in St. Louis later this month.
Joyce Eveland stood outside the cafeteria waiting for the team she has called her own until this year, when fighting cancer made it difficult for her to be the coach. “It’s fascinating. A wonderful program” says Eveland of the robotics team.
Oskaloosa is one of 25 teams advancing to Worlds, of the 72 teams that competed in the super regional competition. Those 72 teams represented 13 states, with teams coming from as far away as Washington D.C.. One other Iowa team ‘Beta’ made the cut.
Oskaloosa High School Principle Stacy Bandy was there congratulating the students with a big smile on his face. “I think this is awesome”, said Bandy. “We’ve got these kids, and their in our school. They just need a place to shine, and this is the place”. “This is what it’s all about. These kids are so excited”. Bandy talked about the academics “and they’re learning each and every time they go out”.
Team advisor and mentor Steve Dixon put the accomplishment into perspective. The team had to be in the top 7% in the nation to make it to super regionals, From that, the top 25 teams of those 72 at super regionals were selected to move on.
When a problem arises with the robot, the students start to figure out what the problem may be. “Is it something of ours or is it something of the game network we’re playing on. Wheres the issue? It’s all about problem solving”, says Dixon.
Kazuki Kaito, is a senior at Oskaloosa High School and is the lone senior on the team. “I’m really excited” says Kaito. “One of the best moments in my life”.
One of his teammates added that this was the teams gift to him, “We’ve tried our hardest for him”.
Kaito added that the team had to overcome a lot of challenges this weekend in order to qualify for Worlds. Overcoming the competition was one of the biggest challenges Kaito explained. They were competing at the super regionals, “all of those teams are great”, said Kaito who believes that the team will do really good at the Worlds.
Mauree Haage is the coach this year while Eveland recovers. She said that participating in super rigionals “Have been a lot of hard work for the kids”. Stress for the participants is something else the team had to deal with. “It didn’t go as planned. Robitics never goes as planned. It’s all about plan B and plan C”, said Haage. “They did a great job with that”.
The Edwards Jones Dome in St. Louis will play host to the teams April 23-26th.
The entry fee for the team to compete is $1,000. The team needs to raise ten times that amount in order to travel and take part in the competition, and will be looking to fund-raise to help reach that goal. “We’ve got two weeks to fund-raise like heck to get enough money to get to St. Louis”, said Eveland.
Haage added, “Any help that we can get from the community would be greatly appreciated”. Haage said, If you have a donation, address it to the robotics team and get it to one of the coaches, the central office or Mr. Bandy at the high school.