2nd in Research Presentation, 1st place Judge's Award
Press Release 01/10/10
North Marshall Middle School
The NMMS Robotics Teams Continue to
Break New Performance Ground.
NMMS Robotics Competition Teams 2009-2010
North Marshall Middle’s two robotic teams braved the artic blast this past weekend to compete against 40 of the state’s best robotics teams. The First Lego League (FLL) State Competition took place Saturday, January 9th, 2010 on Western Kentucky University’s Campus. In only the NMMS program’s third year of competing, the two teams each won awards for NMMS at a First Lego League State Competition. These are first official state awards any NMMS robotics team have ever won.
The Transformers’ Performance
TEAM Transformers finished 2nd in Research Presentation impressing their judges with their
research, problem identification, and solution implementation. Their solution centered around a Media campaign called “Arrive Alive, Don’t Text and Drive”. The team has created and have printed/posted informational articles, created public service announcements (psa) in written form, and finally produced their own video psa about the dangers of texting while driving. They have shared the facts they gathered with local government agencies, written state legislators, and posted flyers at Marshall County High School. The reaction the team liked best as they left the judges in the presentation room was “impressive effort”. Team member Grant Miller commented, “One of last things we did in preparation was to make a power point showing visually that we had communicated at a local, state, national, and worldwide level (e.g., Team Blog, Facebook) about our campaign. I think this helped the judges see the effort we put into addressing this important issue..”
The Transformers also showed their prowess with their robot. Coach Andy Miller said, “We were making steady progress with robot performance all season. We were getting 340-360 point runs in Friday night’s last practice.” Their effort paid off on competition day. This team came up just 5 points short of garnering another LEGO state trophy in Robotics Performance. The 330 points gave NMMS its highest finish ever in this category with a 3rd place in the state. This tops last year’s all-time team high of 6th place. “We almost had 390 (out of 400) points on that third run”, according Robert Fitzgerald. His partner Wally Schmidt explained “We had the loops picked up that would have given us 60 more points, but the robot got stuck on the way back to base.”
The Transformers members are Josh Collins, Logan Coursey, Nate Dolbee, Robert Fitzgerald, Steven Maness, Grant Miller, Valerie Rowe, Wally Schmidt, and Taylor Stevens. They are coached by Andy Miller and Kurt Schmidt. Assistant Coach is Aaron Melton. Mentor is Hank Hillman.
THE WhaCHOOmakalitz’s Performance
TEAM WhaCHOOmakalitz shined brightly at this year’s state competition, too. Although they didn’t get 1st or 2nd in any one category, they did score high enough in all 4 that they were awarded 1st place in the Judges’ Award. Judges comments included “This team’s enthusiasm for this competition and their sophistication in robot programming and design was undeniable. We thought they were most deserving of the Judge’s Award.” It is no surprise this team qualified for state with a 1st place performance in robot design, but it was their improvement in the other categories that was most notable. Coach Brian Collins explained “Their research presentation was 10 times better than what was shared back in December at Regionals. They took all the feedback from Regionals and worked hard to create a quality presentation on their topic.” This team made a convincing case for the need for completion of the Ky Dam and Lock extension. Collins concluded, “It is very rewarding to see how much they have learned, how well they organized it, and how well they communicated it to others.”
The WhaCHOOmakalitz members are James Ambler, Noah Cox, Amber Crawford, Emily Lee, Ryan Livesay, Conner Morgan and Adam Padgett. They are coached by Bill Kunnecke and Brian Collins.
A FULFILLING 3RD SEASON
Coach Kunnecke concluded “What a great season we have had. We finally got one of those “LEGO trophies” at state! The experience of the last two years has been crucial to our success. This year was truly a team effort combined with tremendous support of parents, school and community. I can’t say enough about how hard these student were willing to work to perform at these high levels. They have learned valuable lessons about setting challenging goals and how much work it takes to make them come true. I have very high expectations for my students’ performance, but the state judge’s positive reaction to our two teams surpassed my expectations this season. The whole experience has created memories no one can take away from these young people. I hope it inspires them to even greater things as they move into secondary and post-secondary education.”
Mentor Hank Hillman brought in several speakers for the students this year. He noted “A special thanks goes to Sheriff Kevin Byars for coming to NMMS and sharing key information about distracted driving earlier this season.” The team was also thrilled by the sheriff’s escort from the Marshall County Line to NMMS in honor of the team’s achievements Saturday Night.