Clarion Area High School Science Olympiad And Robotics Teams Realize Major Accomplishments Recently, Robotics Team Makes Vex World Games

All photos courtesy Clarion Area Robotics and Science Olympiad Teams – Above: Senior High Science Olympiad Team:  Front Row L – R: Chris Kim, Ethan Robert’s, Zoe Keterrer, Natalie Durish, Sean Roberts, Carson Bills, Victor Treose. Adults in the back row from left Dave Moyer – State Science Olympiad director, Brian Burford- coach, Tracy Durish – coach, Erin Fox – coach. Students Back row L – R: Blaise Cunningham, Delaney McNamara, Prather Singh, Lindsay Shmader, Prathmesh Singh. Not pictured: Alicyn Burford, Billy Kahle, Theo Sweet.

The Clarion Area Science Olympiad Team and Robotics Teams have some achieved major accomplishments recently.

Coach Brian Burford shared information on the history of the Clarion Area Teams, information on this season’s competition and so much more. (Note at the bottom of the article is information from VEX ROBOTICS and Science Olympiad websites explaining competitions etc. and a list of team members’ accomplishments.)

After Della retired Mrs. Tracy Craig and I expanded our robotics competitions to VEX Robotics in 2019. With covid and other factors we took the next several years off of the VEX completion. Last year we continued with VEX.

We had 3 teams compete at the North Clarion, DuBois, and Franklin competitions. Two of the teams qualified for states at Pennwest Clarion. After the competition last March, my returning members said that their goal was to make it to worlds. They had finished toward the bottom of the 54 teams competing.

Several of the members took supplies home over the summer to start the robot. When they came back to school this fall, we had the start of 2 robots. We competed in BEST Robotics from the start of school until late October. We then started engineering and building 3 robots. Two of the teams were led by two of our returning seniors Prakhar Sing and Blaise Cunningham.

Our first competition was January 10 at Cranberry High School. Team Green Machine, Prakhar Sing, Prathmesh Singh, Theo Sweet, and Seth Weckerly finished 5th in the preliminary rounds, 4th in the skills competition with a score of 170, and ended their day in the semi-final round.

Their 4th place finish in skills qualified them for the state competition at Pennwest Clarion.

Team Robo Rangers, Blaise Cunningham, Wyatt Boyden, and Jonas Wilshire, scored 30 points in skills, and made it to the quarterfinal round of the competition. Our third team, Team Robocops, consist of two newcomers to robotics Jacob Gulnac and Wes Breniman. They enjoyed learning while competing in six matches.

Our second competition was scheduled for February 10th.

All three teams did major changes to their robots. They looked like 3 entirely new robots. Team Green machine, knowing that they had already qualified for states, tried several new strategies. They finished 6th in skills with a score of 130 and made it to the quarterfinals of the compitition. Team Robo Rangers ranked 16th after the qualifying rounds, made it to the round of sixteen and won 3rd place in skills with a score of 167. This qualified them for the state tournament.

Our new team, Robocops, improved greatly by finishing the qualifying rounds in 25th place and going 3-3 on the day. They also made it to the round of 16.

With 2 teams qualifying for states, we had about a month to improve our two robots.

At states our two teams did an outstanding job. After the first several rounds of skill we were in 2nd and 3rd place out of the 59 qualifying teams. With one chance left, both teams needed a big score to overtake the outstanding North Clarion team. Team Geen machine was in second place with one driver round left. They scored 160 points to to end with a score of 278. Team Robo Rangers and North Clarion each had one more chance to compete. North Clarion fell 3 points short finishing with a score of 275. While our Team Robo Rangers ended up with a third place finish of 250 points.

1st place team for skills at Pennsylvania West Vex State Championship. L-R: Seth Weckerly, Prakhar Singh, Theo Sweet, Prathmesh Singh.

The first place finish in skills qualified team Green Machine for the VEX World Championships in Dallas Texas. Both teams made it to the playoff rounds with a chance to move on. Team Robo Rangers made it to the Quarter Finals losing to the eventual finalist. Team Green Machine made it to the semifinals losing to the eventual champions.

Students who were on the teams that took first and 3rd place in skills at the championship. Front L-R: Wes Breniman, Seth Weckerly Back L-R: Jacob Gulnac, Blaise Cunningham, Wyatt Boyden, Prathmesh Singh, Theo Sweet.

I am very proud of these young men. I am amazed at how much they have learned through this entire process. This completion has been a great experience for them. It has taught them so many good lessons, from engineering, problem solving, team work, good sportsmanship and so much more.

Congratulations to our Senior High and Junior High Science Olympiad Teams for both placing 2nd in their division at regionals. Both teams have qualified for the state competition at the end of April.

Junior High Science Olympiad Team: Front row: Landon Martin, Michael Troese, Wes Breniman, Lilly Moore, Noelle Grippo, Aubree Conticelli. Adults in the back row from left Dave Moyer – State Science Olympiad director, Brian Burford- coach, Tracy Durish – coach, Erin Fox – coach. Students  Back row: Marshall Roberts, Wyatt Dehner, Mason Nimelli, Patrick Durish, Cash Gilmore, Lucas Ion, Tyler Brown.

(From Vex Robotics Website:

The Game: VEX Robotics Competition Over Under is played on a 12’ x 12’ square field configured as seen above. Two (2) Alliances – one (1) “red” and one (1) “blue” – composed of two (2) Teams each, compete in matches consisting of a fifteen (15) second Autonomous Period, followed by a one minute and forty-five second (1:45) Driver Controlled Period.

The object of the game is to attain a higher score than the opposing Alliance by Scoring Triballs in Goals, and by Elevating at the end of the Match.

There are sixty (60) Triballs on a VRC Over Under Field.

There are two netted Goals on opposite sides of the field. A 2” PVC Barrier divides the field into a Red Offensive Zone and a Blue Offensive Zone.  

Each Triball scored in a Goal is worth five (5) points, and each Triball which makes it into an Offensive Zone is worth two (2) points.

The VRC Over Under Field also includes two sets of Alliance-specific pipes on either side of the Barrier.  These are called Elevation Bars, and are used at the end of the Match for Elevating Robots.

At the end of the Match, each Robot’s height off the ground will be measured to determine their Elevation Tier. Elevation Points will then be awarded based on each Robot’s Tier relative to all other Robots. For example, getting to Tier E could be worth as many as twenty (20) points OR as few as five (5). Elevation Tiers begin at the floor, and they end above the Elevation Bar!

The Alliance that scores more points in the Autonomous period is awarded with eight (8) bonus points, added to the final score at the end of the match. Each Alliance also has the opportunity to earn an Autonomous Win Point by completing three assigned tasks. This Bonus can be earned by both Alliances, regardless of who wins the Autonomous Bonus.

(Information from Science Olympiad website: SCIENCE OLYMPIAD CELEBRATES ITS 40TH ANNIVERSARY SEASON! 

Founded in 1984, Science Olympiad is the premier team STEM competition in the nation, providing standards-based challenges to 6,000 teams at 425 tournaments in all 50 states. 2024 Rules available 9/5/23, followed by fall workshops and national Workshop Wednesdays showcasing innovative content. Become a member through your State Chapter to play, study using 46 event pages for Div B and Div C, and check out prep materials from our SO Store plus official kits from Ward’s Science. For your own Science Olympiad experience, check out the MYSO archive for free Lesson Plans and STEM career videos on our SOTV YouTube page!)

Junior High: 

Lucas Ion and Tyler Brown in Fast Facts

Wes Breniman and Marshall Roberts in Microbe Mission

Mason Nimelli and Wyatt Dehner in Tower

Patrick Durish and Wyatt Dehner in Wind Power

Senior High:

Prakhar Singh and Victor Troese in Chem Lab

Sean Roberts and Carson Bills in Fossils

Sean Roberts and Zoey Ketterer in Microbe Mission

Blaise Cunningham and Delaney McNamara in Tower

Division B

3rd Place: Air Trajectory – Wes Breniman (7th Grade) and Cash Gilmore (7th Grade)

2nd Place: CodeBusters – Mason Nimelli (7th Grade), Wes Breniman (7th Grade) and Landon Martin (6th Grade) 

3rd Place: Crime Busters – Cash Gilmore (7th Grade) and Wyatt Dehner (6t Grade)

2nd Place: Disease Detectives – Marshall Roberts (6th Grade) and Lilly Moore (6th Grade)

3rd Place: Ecology – Aubree Conticelli (6th Grade) and Noelle Grippo (6th Grade)

2nd Place: Experimental Design – Patrick Durish (8th Grade), Lucas Ion (8th Grade) and Tyler Brown (8th Grade)

1st Place: Fast Facts – Lucas Ion (8th Grade) and Tyler Brown (8th Grade)

2nd Place: Fossils – Aubree Conticelli (6th Grade) and Michael Troese (8th Grade)

2nd Place: Meteorology – Landon Martin (6th Grade) and Noelle Grippo (6th Grade)

1st Place: Microbe Mission – Wes Breniman (7th Grade) and Marshall Roberts (6th Grade)

3rd Place: Road Scholar – Patrick Durish (8th Grade) and Lucas Ion (8th Grade)

1st Place: Tower – Mason Nimelli (7th Grade) and Wyatt Dehner (6th Grade)

2nd Place: Wheeled Vehicle – Patrick Durish (8th Grade) and Lucas Ion (8th Grade)

1st Place: Wind Power – Patrick Durish (8th Grade) and Wyatt Dehner (6th Grade)

Medal Count

Wes Breniman – 3; Lucas Ion – 4; Tyler Brown – 2; Landon Martin – 2; Aubree Conticelli – 2; Lilly Moore – 1; Wyatt Dehner – 3; Mason Nimelli – 2; Patrick Durish – 4; Marshall Roberts – 2; Cash Gilmore – 2; Michael Troese – 1; Noelle Grippo – 2

Division C

2nd Place: Air Trajectory – Prakhar Singh (12th Grade) and Theo Sweet (11th Grade)

2nd Place: Anatomy and Physiology – Natalie Durish (11th Grade) and Ethan Roberts (11th Grade)

1st Place: Chem Lab – Prakhar Singh (12th Grade) and Victor Troese (11th Grade)

2nd Place: Detector Building – Blaise Cunningham (12th Grade) and Chris Kim (9th Grade)

3rd Place: Disease Detectives – Victor Troese (11th Grade) and Carson Bills (9th Grade)

3rd Place: Dynamic Planet – Chris Kim (9th Grade) and Carson Bills (9th Grade)

3rd Place: Experimental Design – Ali Burford (11th Grade), Natalie Durish (11th Grade), Lindsay Schmader (11th Grade)

2nd Place: Flight – Blaise Cunningham (12th Grade) and Theo Sweet (11th Grade)

2nd Place: Forestry – Sean Roberts (10th Grade) and Billy Kahle (9th Grade)

1st Place: Fossils – Sean Roberts (10th Grade) and Carson Bills (9th Grade)

1st Place: Microbe Mission – Sean Roberts (10th Grade) and Zoey Ketterer (11th Grade)

3rd Place: Optics – Blaise Cunningham (12th Grade) and Delaney McNamara (12th Grade)

3rd Place: Robot Tour – Prakhar Singh (12th Grade) and Prathmesh Singh (10th Grade)

2nd Place: Scrambler – Ali Burford (11th Grade) and Zoey Ketterer (11th Grade)

1st Place: Tower – Blaise Cunningham (12th Grade) and Delaney McNamara (12th Grade)

2nd Place: Wind Power – Zoey Ketterer (11th Grade) and Ethan Roberts (11th Grade)

3rd Place: Write It Do It – Ali Burford (11th Grade) and Lindsay Schmader (11th Grade)

Medal Count

Carson Bills – 3; Billy Kahle 1; Ethan Roberts – 2; Prathmesh Singh – 1; Ali Burford – 3; Zoey Ketterer – 3; Sean Roberts – 3; Theo Sweet – 2; Blaise Cunningham – 4; Chris Kim – 2; Lindsay Schmader – 2; Victor Troese – 2; Natalie Durish – 2; Delaney McNamara – 2; Prakhar Singh – 3

(Congratulations and Keep Up The Good Work, Robotics and Science Olympiad Teams!!!! Thanks to Coach Burford for the article and to the Team for the photos!!)