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Cape Robotics team heads to world championship for fourth year

To compete against nearly 600 teams from all over the world
April 9, 2019

After winning the Delaware State VEX Robotics Championship March 9, the Cape Robotics team heads to the VEX Robotics World Championship for the fourth straight year.

Comprising students John Schlater, Zach Babbie, Kilian McCrae, Yuxin He, Ben Rothstein, Alex Stanton and Sebastian Turman, the team bested 23 other high school teams from Delaware and Maryland to earn the overall Excellence Award for the third year in a row.

Teams were scored on their engineering notebook and interviews, and programming and driving skills. Each team had to qualify for the robot competition finals.

Each year’s challenge is different; this year, students programmed robots to place caps on posts or field tiles, and to toggle flags to different colors using robots or balls in the confines of a 12-by-12-foot playing field.

Students said they built a new motor for the robot just three weeks before the state competition.

“We had to revamp and redo the gear ratio and had to recode everything because it was a much stronger motor,” John said. “It gave us a definite advantage, and we’ll be up-to-date for worlds because everyone will have the new motor there.”

Cape High science teacher Bill Geppert started the Cape Robotics program as a club in 2007 and developed it into a course for the 2010 fall semester. Cape now offers Robotics I, II and Advanced Robotics, courses that expose students to computer programming, electricity and electronics, mathematics and physics. Cape started competing in the VEX competition just five years ago.

The competition provides educational and competitive robotics products to schools worldwide to encourage student interest and proficiency in science, technology, engineering and mathematics, or STEM, careers. The company’s middle and high school competitions pit more than 20,000 teams from 50 countries against each other in 1,700 competitions worldwide.

Geppert said the team is collecting donations to help pay for the trip to the world championship, held April 24-27 in Louisville, Ky.

To donate, send a check made payable to Cape Henlopen High School, 1250 Kings Highway, Lewes, DE 19958, with Robotics Team in the memo line. Donations are tax-deductible.