Sequoyah High, Tahlequah, UT-Austin win VEX Robotics Competition


(L to R) University of Texas at Austin’s Institute of Electrical and Electronic Engineers Robotics and Automation Society team members Joshua Bryant, Omar Medjaouri and Siddarth Desai won the university division of the Cherokee Nation VEX Robotic Competition, awarded by competition coordinator Daniel Faddis.

TAHLEQUAH, Okla. — Sequoyah High School defeated 40 other robotics teams from three different states to win the Cherokee Nation’s Fifth Annual VEX Robotics Competition school-age division. A team from the University of Texas at Austin clinched the university division.

The Cherokee Nation hosted the robotics competition Saturday. For more than eight hours students from 60 teams perfected hardware and programmed their self-built robots to scoop up balls, maneuver through an arena and then dunk balls into cylinders or rings to score the most winning points before the timer.

A team of nine Sequoyah students earned a trophy and coveted spot in the state VEX Robotics competition next month in Oklahoma City. The UT-Austin team is qualified for the world VEX Robotics competition in Beirut, Lebanon, in March.

“It was a very long day, but winning is very exciting,” said Savanna McCollum, a Sequoyah High School junior who has been on the robotics team for two years. “As a team, we all put in a lot of effort into making the robot and making it work, so it’s awesome to see our hard work pay off. We still have a few kinks to work out so we can go to state and win it, too.”

A team from Tahlequah, which included the Optimus Primates from Greenwood Elementary and Hexoids from Tahlequah Middle School, won the IQ Teamwork portion of the competition. They also earned a spot in the state competition for the IQ Teamwork division.

“Making sure our Native American students have as many educational opportunities as possible is always a priority at the Cherokee Nation,” said Cherokee Nation Education Liaison Gloria Sly. “The robotics competition sponsors monitor the development of northeastern Oklahoma student achievement in the areas of science, technology, engineering and mathematics for recruiting. Cherokee Nation Education Services’ programs open these doors in the hopes that students will choose to follow these career paths.”

The following finalists and teams winning individual judge awards also qualified for the state competition: Cave Springs High School, Briggs School, Tahlequah Public Schools and Maryetta Public Schools. Northeastern State University and Rice University also qualified for the world VEX competition.


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