Warbots Unite: Happy Valley makes presence felt in robotics competition

Published 5:04 pm Monday, January 29, 2018

Carter County’s future engineers were able to flex their muscles with robotic superiority to usher in the new year.

Students from Happy Valley Middle School and Hunter Elementary made the trip over to Kingsport to participate in the Golden Raiders VRC Winter Classic, a VEX Robotics Competition, on Saturday, Jan. 27, at Sullivan North High School and made its impact in a loaded pool comprised of 28 teams and over 100 students.

Team 31110V, comprised of HVMS’ Ryan Eggers, Jackson Taylor, Clara Smith and Zach Stephens, partnered with ITF Chattanooga to pull away with a 2-0 victory in the tournament finals. The 2017-18 academic year has been fruitful for the Warbots’ part of the program. Eggers, Taylor, Smith and Stephens have already qualified for the upcoming state competition due to their win Dec. 2 at Signal Mountain. The team also punched their ticket for the U.S. Open in Council Bluffs, Iowa.

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But Saturday’s final wasn’t without some addition of maroon and gray. HVMS Team 31110H joined with two Johnson County squads to pick up runner-up honors in the contest. Hailey Crawford, Isaiah Brummit, Adam Sheppard and Malachi Clark comprise the Warbots team.

Led by coach Mike Dorsey, HVMS brought five teams to compete during Saturday’s all-day affair in Kingsport.

But as the day went on, Dorsey added the trip is worthwhile due to the smiles and fun the children are sharing with their peers.

Team 3110M knows all too well about the ins and outs of the competition. Ayden Heatherly is one of the members of the team, which earned a sportsmanship award during a competition at Johnson County in November.

“It’s been fun,” Heatherly said with a smile. The HVMS student also said it was fun working alongside his peers during the competition.

Saturday was also a debut of sorts for the “Roarbots” of Hunter Elementary.

Carter County’s elementary school represented made some noise in the elimination round of the tournament and enjoyed their first crack at competition.

“It has been wild,” said Hunter student Shyanne Rogers, who shared a chuckle. “We barely had any practice time but we feel we’re doing pretty good right now. It has been really surprising.”

Following in HVMS’ footsteps, schools like Hunter are starting to break in the robotics world. Unaka High School is another local school that will soon debut in an upcoming competition in Clinton.

But for students like Rogers, the thrill comes from doing that something.

“It may seem pretty hard at first, but once you get with your teammates, it really isn’t that bad at all,” she added.