Robotics teams from the North Carolina School for the Deaf completed a whirlwind of tournaments in late February and early March that took students to Concord, N.C., Alabama and Connecticut.
“There was like a 10-day period where we were traveling everywhere,” said Jeff Lintz, NCSD career and technical education teacher.
In Concord, the school’s elementary robotics team participated in the VEX North Carolina Elementary State Championship on Feb. 25. Miles Castillo and Wilder Sanchez, together known as “The NCSD Bear Cubs,” took fifth place out of 36 teams from across the state.
While the elementary students were in Concord, two middle school robotics teams traveled to the Alabama Institute for the Deaf and Blind to compete against 32 other teams from 16 states in the NRSC VEX IQ Competition Feb. 23-26.
Harmonii Pearson and Violeta Cortez, together known as “Queen Mexica 24,” qualified for the finals and finished in 12th place while “Faze Rug,” consisting of Kenia Cardoza and Hunter Riddle, qualified for the finals and finished fourth.
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A few days later, two middle school teams along with the NCSD’s high school team flew to Connecticut for the NRSC Second Annual Deaf and Hard of Hearing SeaPerch underwater robotics competition and The NRSC Deaf and Hard of Hearing Aerial Drone Tournament. The tournaments took place March 1-5 and featured 36 teams from 11 states.
Lintz said both middle school teams struggled to get and keep their robots operational during the underwater competition but still managed to pull together solid performances.
“NCSD’s two middle school teams played well as they overcame robot problems in the Obstacle Course and brought their ROVs back to life, scoring 25 and 30 points in the Mission Course,” said Lintz. “Bears never give up. Nothing could make me prouder than seeing my teams giving their all.”
The high school team, “The Hype Ninjas,” made up of Tie Barnes and Veatriz Mendoza, scored 75 points during the competition, enough for third place. They fell just short of qualifying for the international competition for the second straight year.
“They just missed it, it was only the top two teams that qualified,” Lintz said.
In the drone competition, however, Barnes and Mendoza captured a first-place finish. In the finals, they partnered with “Drone Ranger3” from Austin, Texas, to come back from seventh and win the Tournament Champion Award.
The Hype Ninjas are now slated to compete in the Aerial Drone Competition Championship in Flowood, Miss. The competition will take place at the Mississippi National Guard 172nd Airwing on April 21 and 22.