VAN WERT — The robots are taking over…or at least taking over Van Wert High School’s gymnasium.
More than two dozen teams participated in the fourth annual Northwest Ohio Qualifier Robotics competition Saturday.
The goal is to get students interested in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) courses.
“This year we had 28 teams from Michigan, Indiana and Ohio primarily. This year the competition is called Relic Recovery and the teams have to pick up different items and place them in crypto-boxes. In the end game, the last 30 seconds, they pick up a relic and place it outside the field, which is the first time that you can play outside field,” said Bob Spath, one of the organizers from Van Wert High School.
Van Wert has been on the cutting edge of robotics for quite a while, according to Spath.
“Fourteen years ago we got that started, and now Lincolnview followed our lead and they started a program, and now Crestview, they’ve got a robotics class. This is their first year to do that,” he said.
Putting on such an event takes lots of volunteers.
“Every [young] volunteer on this field and that field are college students that were part of our team in the last five years. They come back; they want to volunteer. We see them once a year and they just love being here. We appreciate their help,” Spath said.
Even the judges are local.
“These are, pretty much, local engineers from Van Wert businesses that come in give up their Saturday to judge for us, which is pretty awesome,” he said.
Wapakoneta High School is in its 3rd year of hosting a robotics team. The competition can whet the appetite of a future engineer like Gabe Kenter, a junior from Wapakoneta.
“We get a lot of hands-on experience, and especially for the field I’m going into, mechanical engineering, you get a lot of experience with gears, gear ratios, lead screws just all of the different types of mechanisms,” Kentner said.
“It’s just a lot of experience especially going into engineering world. I’m going to college for computer science so it’s really interesting to learn all of this new stuff. It’s really fun. It’s a great time,” said Seth Leek, a senior at Wapakoneta.
Reach Sam Shriver at 567-242-0409.