Teams earning World Championship invites are (top left to right): Team Sierra, Steel Phoenixes; (bottom left to right) Team KaBuum and the Knights. Teams earning World Championship invites are (top left to right): Team Sierra, Steel Phoenixes; (bottom left to right) Team KaBuum and the Knights.
Four VEX robotics teams earn World Championship invitations

Four Mankato Area Public Schools’ West High School VEX robotics teams have qualified and earned World Championship invitations. Teams include:
  • Team Sierra: Trent McCabe, Larkin Hansen, Dayton Moore, Chris Slocum, Ben Abbott, Keidron Pohlman, Eric Rucker and Abdikarem Ibrahim.
  • Steel Phoenixes: Ben Liebl, Liam Garbes, Tucker Jones, Carter Langworthy, Mitchell Robertson, Justin Qualley, Conner Johnston and Andrew Herold.
  • Team KaBuum: Andrew Baston, Hallie Olson, Terry Moore, Alanna Pohlman, Gavin Honken, Rachel Arndt, Ryan Buendorf and Hunter Stevensen.
  • Knights: Lucas Guo, Devin Baker, Andrew Birkmaier, Kade Brandel, Matthew Krueger, Ian Muggli, Ethan Rittmiller and Tom Lauer.
The Knights partnered with two other school teams to win the state tournament championship. Team Sierra, Steel Phoenixes and Team KaBuum partnered and were tournament finalists, which earned them a World Championship invitation. The Steel Phoenixes tied for Robot Skills and earned a robot skills finalist award, qualifying them for World Championships.
In addition, Team KaBuum won the design award, earning a World Championship invitation. This award is presented to a team that demonstrates an organized and professional approach to the design process, project management, time management and team organization. 
The Steel Phoenixes also won the sportsmanship award. This award is presented to a team that has earned the respect and admiration of the volunteers and other teams at the event. This team is a model for all to follow and interacts with everyone in a positive, respectful manner in the spirit of friendly competition and cooperation.
Mark Zenk, teacher and VEX robotics coach, was selected as mentor of the year. This award is given to a mentor or engineer that has helped their students achieve goals that were seemingly out of reach. This individual is a role model, a leader and an extraordinary mentor who helps show students new ways to expand their knowledge and solve problems.
Student teams were given a design challenge and used the VEX equipment kit to design, build and program a robot to perform certain tasks. Students were introduced to the world of robotics with the VEX Robotics Design System in partnership with Project Lead the Way, the nation’s leading provider of science, technology, engineering and math programs. The hands-on robot-building experience provides an opportunity to excite students about these subjects in a fun, motivational way.