SPARTA, NJ – Robotics teams from all over the state converged on the Sparta High School on Saturday for a VEX competition.  Sparta’s eight sub-teams competed against 32 other schools.  The 5249 S “Yorktown” and 5249 Z “Ignite” teams finished in the top 10 of the Tower Takeover challenge.  

Yorktown made a run in the semifinal round and Ignite finished in the quarterfinals.  Ignite earned the Design Award.  This award is given by the judges to teams that present an “organized and professional approach to the design process, project, time management and team organization,” according to coach Mark Meola.

The prestigious Design Award comes from the team’s Engineering Notebook and Judge’s interview. 

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The 5149 D team called [REDACTED] won the Create Award.  They earned this award for having a “robot design incorporates a creative engineering solution to the design challenges of this season’s game,” Meola said.

Z team member Ula said this season's challenge "is a bit more strategy based."  Her teammate Chris Scheri said, "I like it better than last year because you don't now who is winning until the end." They explained the Tower Takeover,  awards points for stacking blocks, with other scoring options as well as the option to "unscore" the other team.  They said the challenge requires them to use all facets of the field.  "You can't just focus on one part and still win," they said.

“This year we continue to make excellent strides,” Meola said.  “Our advanced teams are doing well in early season competitions and by their example our younger less experienced teams are also making a strong showing.  With good process driven designs and data driven decision making these teams will continue to perform quite well.”