Robotics teams compete at Ladue Tournament

Peering through his glasses, Blue Brains Team Lead and senior Sawyer Ladd carefully examines his team’s robot in between contests. As team lead, Ladd seeks to encourage collaboration among his teammates. “We try [to] become more than just a group of people achieving successful robotics. On my team, Ive tried to make us more of a friend group than a robotics team. So thats improved our team chemistry — we just generally enjoy being around each other and that allows us to work together a little [better],” Ladd said.
Peering through his glasses, Blue Brains Team Lead and senior Sawyer Ladd carefully examines his team’s robot in between contests. As team lead, Ladd seeks to encourage collaboration among his teammates. “We try [to] become more than just a group of people achieving successful robotics. On my team, I’ve tried to make us more of a friend group than a robotics team. So that’s improved our team chemistry — we just generally enjoy being around each other and that allows us to work together a little [better],” Ladd said.
Hrushi Eluru

For the first time this year, all four robotics teams competed under one roof at the Ladue VEX Robotics Competition Tournament. On Sunday, BreakPoint, MetalMinds, OverDriv6 and Blue Brains put their robots — and skills — to the test by playing Over Under, this year’s VEX game.

During the game, opposing teams compete to score goals with triangular balls while navigating obstacles. 

“There’s a lot of restrictions on how your robot can move across the field. Physically, there’s a big pipe across the field,” Blue Brains Team Lead and senior Sawyer Ladd said. “So my team [has] added slides to the front of the robot to help prop [it] up to get over the middle pipe and we’ve made sure that we stayed beneath 11 inches, which allows us to just drive straight into the bars inside [the goal].”

One team, Metal Minds, finished in 5th during the Skills Competition and reached the first round of the elimination bracket. Ladd’s team, Blue Brains, placed second overall in the tournament, receiving a Tournament Finalist Award and earning special recognition through the Judges Award.

“My favorite part [of this tournament] would be succeeding with our robot that we hastily made,” Ladd said. “We had recently rebuilt the robot, so we spent some time adding another mechanism and then we also gave a lot of time to our coder to do some finetuning.”

Meanwhile, OverDriv6 and BreakPoint both reached quarterfinals. Throughout the tournament, the two teams worked together, collaborating to beat out teams from Moberly Senior High and Troy Buchanan High.

“Most of all, we set out to help our other partner robotics team, BreakPoint, who is not state-qualified yet,” OverDriv6 Co-Lead and senior Andrew Son said. “What we set out to do is to partner up with them and help innovate their robot so that we could help them move up to state. We try to lift each other up. Instead of focusing on us trying to win the competition for our interest only, we try to bring in other people’s interests.”

Ranked as 26th and 6th in the state respectively, OverDriv6 and Blue Brains have qualified for the MO VEX Robotics State Championship on March 2.

“We wanted to take Ladue as a learning opportunity to meet other teams, collaborate within our own teams and figure out new innovative ways we can test out [our robot]. We found that our robot was slower this competition, so we’re trying to make it faster. As a team, I believe we can really accomplish our goals,” Son said.

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