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This article appeared in the San Juan Record on March 21, 2012

posted Mar 26, 2012, 9:51 PM by Miriam Peterson   [ updated Mar 26, 2012, 9:54 PM ]

Monticelloʼs Raptor Robotics, a Vex Robotics competition team, has racked up an

impressive list of accomplishments in just two short years. Current team members are

Joshua Peterson, Conager Wells, Adam Rowley (all of Monticello), and Colten Schlegel

(of Dove Creek), Miriam Peterson is the adult advisor. The team participated in several

day-long multi-team tournaments in Northern Utah. Even though most of the other

teams enjoy sponsorship from large schools and/or corporations, Raptor Robotics has

represented Monticello very well by winning several trophies and advancing to regional

and world competitions.

This year the team qualified for and participated in the Mountain Region VEX Robotics

Championship Tournament held at Utah State University on Feb. 25. The team won a

trophy based on programming. In this phase of competition, the robot is programmed to

score game-pieces while operating autonomously on the field of play. Raptor Robotics

programer, Joshua Peterson, deserves accolades for his talents and achievements. The

winning score ranks 14th best among more than 3500 teams from 20 countries; it

qualifies the team to participate in the 2012 World VEX Robotics Competition, April,

19-21, 2012, in Anaheim, CA. They will compete against upwards of 400 of the worldʼs

best teams. Last year the team tied for 42 place at the world competition in Orlando FL.

At each event, trophies are awarded to winners in each of four categories: skills

challenge, programming, interview with judges, and champions of on-field tournament

play. Events are structured in a sports-like atmosphere. Friends and family fill bleachers

to watch and cheer matches played on a 12 ft by 12 ft field. Throughout the day, each

team engages in several matches in hopes of being one of 8 teams to play in the

exciting finals that eventually crown tournament champions. In each match of the

qualifying round, teams are randomly paired in alliances; two two-team alliances

compete against each other to score the most points by maneuvering their robots

around the field by remote control to place ordinary, doubling, and canceling game

pieces in goals of varying heights. In the finals, the top qualifying teams get to choose

the teams they will be allied with (think picking teams for dodge-ball in elementary


Game pieces and rules differ annually. Every year teams must start from square-one to

design and build their robots, throughout the year teams trouble-shoot, tweak, and fix

their robots at will so long as it folds into a cube measuring 18 inches on each side on

competition day. Each robot is unique, the variety of robot designs is part of what makes

competition entertaining. Documentation of the design, building, and programming

process plays an important role in interviews with judges.

Gary Stewardson, associate professor of technology and engineering education at Utah

State University said Vex Robotics Competitions get kids excited about math and

science. “They are competing in sport-like events and a cooperative learning

environment,” he said. “they learn to stay competitive, while still maintaining

relationships with other teams to form alliances. These are real-life lessons.”

The Raptor Robotics team is self-supported and earns their own way through various

fund raising activities; these include events that give back to community such as

conducting Lego Robotic classes for younger children and Robotics Merit Badge

classes. The team has expressed gratitude for the support received from the community

in the way of donations, purchased items (pizza, toy robots, etc.), and sending youth to

classes. The team is especially grateful for the generosity of Grayson and Jan Redd

who provide space, lights, and heat for the team to work on their robot and practice.

Visit Raptor Robotics Facebook site by typing Raptor Robotics VEX Team 4191 in the

search window.