From state to world: Blue Brains Robotics team emerges victorious


Manaswini Mishra

The Blue Brains Robotics Team and supporters pose together after winning State and qualifying for Worlds. Teammates hold Second place Skills, Tournament Champion and Excellence Award trophies as the competition comes to an end. “It was such an amazing experience to not only double qualify for Worlds, but to do it with my teammates who are some of my favorite people in the world. I’m really glad I get to continue competing for my senior year,” Senior, Notebook Writer and Drive Team Member Katherine Hanses said.

West High became the 2023 Missouri VEX Robotics High School State Champion this past Saturday. Through a series of 2v2 competitions in Jefferson City, Mo., the team won the State tournament, qualifying them for the World Championship.

The VEX competition occurred on March 11, where all four of Parkway West’s teams — the Blue Brains, END GAM3, Memory Leak and 7 Orange Beetles — advanced to the state competition. Teams won a variety of awards that qualified them for State. The Blue Brains Team has qualified for Worlds for the last four years.

“It was pretty exciting [to qualify for Worlds]. We’ve qualified for Worlds for the last four years, so I don’t think it was too shocking. But it was a comforting feeling knowing that we’re going to go; it was really fun last year,” senior and co-captain of Blue Brains Anushka Dharmasanam said.

The Blue Brains spent months building and rebuilding their robot for the competitions…In addition to double-qualifying for the 2023 VEX World Championship, the Blue Brains earned two Performance awards and a Judged award while placing second overall in the robot skills portion of the competition.

“The biggest [values I’ve learned] are teamwork, collaborating with others and learning to compromise, learning to understand things from multiple perspectives,” co-captain of Blue Brains and senior Joseph Britt said. “It can be stressful because [of] all the pressure, [but] we’ve all worked together, built this bot, did the whole design process, did our interview and this year, we’ve taken a lot of our experience [and] previous successes and mistakes to really lay out our whole timeline for the year, so we felt pretty confident about how it performed.”

Additionally, team Memory Leak received the Inspire Award, and the 7 Orange Beetles team won the Create Award, both derived from the judging criteria and rubrics. Blue Brains will compete in Dallas at the World Championships on April 25.