Albuquerque-Metro

Cleveland Middle School Robotics Team gears up for world competition

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) - A local middle school is getting ready to represent New Mexico on the world stage and put their engineering skills to the test at the Vex Robotics World Championship.

The Cleveland Middle School Robotics Team is gearing up for a fierce competition, going up against 180 mid-school teams from around the world. 

"It's astonishing because this is the first time we've ever been to a world competition with robotics and being this young it's incredible," said Toryn Kelly, eighth grader.

The team was guaranteed a ticket to the world championship by winning the state competition and then getting second place plus winning the "Middle School Excellence" award at the regional competition.

"That qualifies us for nationals and world. But we skipped nationals to go straight to worlds," said Logan Slimp, eighth grader.

The road to the Vex Robotics World Championships wasn't always paved in gold. A number of obstacles have stood in the way.

"We didn't get the rules and the restrictions for everything until two weeks before the first competition so we had to hurry up and build our robot in a week and a half and get it programmed," said Kelly.

Not to mention, robot parts were hard to come by.

"Other teams have 10 times as many, to 20 times as many parts as we do. We built with very few parts and we programmed it," said Slimp.

The team also had very little space to practice.

"We've been practicing at his house, in a library, or basically anywhere where we could. We even practiced at Garfield a few times," said Kelly.

That's why as the team has started a GoFundMe page to raise money to build a competitive field of their own to have at the school.

"The field would ensure that the team would be able to practice with the up to date obstacles and everything," said Slimp.

They want to continue this new legacy they've built for future years to come.

"That's kind of what we're trying to start here. We have it lined up for the next five or six years to try to go to Worlds again," said Slimp.

Besides competing with other teams from the US, they will compete with teams from Russia, Saudi Arabia, China, Canada, Guatemala, Bermuda, Kazakhstan, Thailand, Bahrain, and many more.

The team leaves for the world competition in Louisville, Kentucky, on April 24. The competition runs through April 28.

For the team's GoFundMe page, click here.


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