Kearney, Neb. – There will be nothing but net this Saturday at Sunrise Middle School. No, it’s not a basketball game filled with the swish sound of a basketball going cleanly through the rim, but instead, robots will be front and center shooting for nothing but net.
Beginning at 10:30 a.m. Saturday at Kearney’s Sunrise Middle School (4611 Ave. N), 32 teams of student robotic enthusiasts will compete in the Kearney VEX Robotics Competition, with the theme this year being “Nothing But Net.” The competition is expected to run into the afternoon, with the finals tentatively scheduled to begin at 3:30 p.m. The event is co-sponsored by Kearney High School and the Nebraska Public Power District, and is open to the public with no admission fee.
Awards will be given to teams in various categories including the tournament champion, tournament finalist, and special awards for excellence, programming skills, robot skills, design, and sportsmanship.
A total of 32 teams, made up of middle and high school students representing nine different schools, are expected to participate. Participating schools and teams registered include Ravenna Public Schools; Crete High School; Thomas Jefferson High School from Council Bluffs, Iowa; Cross County Schools; Ogallala High School; Axtell Community School; Lakeview High School; Holdrege Schools; and Kearney High School.
NPPD’s involvement with the robotics competition is through its Outreach Programs focusing on engineering, a major function for the District. “The students involved in the robotics competition have a great time while building amazing robots, and this program focuses on students learning and understanding the engineering, technical and programming and skills needed in building a robot,: explained NPPD Outreach Programs Specialist Kim Liebig. “These students develop teamwork skills, leadership and sportsmanship – all of which are key competencies NPPD utilizes in the workplace on a day-to-day basis.”
VEX Robotics competition “Nothing But Net” is played on a 12’x12’ square field with two alliances – one “red” and one “blue” – competing in matches consisting of a fifteen second autonomous period followed by one minute and forty-five seconds of driver-controlled play. Students utilize the robots they have engineered and constructed to place balls into nets within set time constraints, recording points for high or low goals ranging from one to 50 points.
The winning team from the Kearney competition and the Excellence Award winner qualify for the Nebraska State Championship to be held in Omaha this February, and the U.S. Open Championship to be held at the Mid America Center in Council Bluffs, Iowa, in April. The Design Award winner will qualify for the Nebraska State Championship. Winners from the Nebraska State and U.S. Open Championships will qualify for the World Championships to be held in Louisville, Kentucky, in April.