The unlikely success story of Molokai Middle School’s Vex IQ robotics team has continued through the summer, culminating in a first place finish in the Robot Skills Champion Award at the International Summer Games held July 10-12 at the Hawaii Convention Center.
Both the school’s boys and girls team unexpectedly qualified in March for the Vex IQ Robotics World Championship 2014 held April 23-26 in Anaheim, Calif. Teams that participated in the world championships from the U.S. and countries including China, Russia, Canada, Mexico, Puerto Rico, Columbia, Lebanon and Egypt were all invited to the Summer Games. Both Molokai teams — the boys Team 434K “Kalo Farmers” and the girls Team 434M “Menehune Farmers” — participated.
At the March qualifying tournament, the girls’ Team 434M won the McKinley State Tournament with the Excellence Award and Teamwork Championship Award trophies. At this summer’s international competition, it was the boys’ turn to shine as they won the Robot Skills Champion Award and Teamwork Champion Award trophies.Each team now has two top awards in the inaugural year of Vex IQ robotics at MMS.
To win the robotics skills award, the boys had only one robot and one minute to make the highest score possible. Remote controlled robots pick up and deposit as many “buckyballs” (isohedron-shaped balls) of two different sizes and deposit them in a scoring container in one minute. The boys team put up 98 points in the first of two attempts, a score that went uncontested. The next closest score came from Island Pacific Academy boys team with 71 points. The IPA “Team 4442B” has been a season-long ally and brother-robotics team to Molokai.
Both Molokai teams made it to the finals with the two top performances in the qualifying round. In qualifying, the Molokai boys and IPA girls scored 144 points followed closely by the Molokai boys and girls teams with 140 points. After the finals round, the Molokai boys Team Kalo Farmers finished first with 768 points followed by 4442B IPA Boys Navigator Robotics with 712 points. In third place was the 4442A IPA Girls Navigator Robotics with 710 points and the Molokai girls team Menehune Farmers placed fourth with 681 points.
The finals round also included five team alliance competitions. In the fourth match, Molokai’s fourth-ranked girls team and IPA’s third-ranked girls team came out with 93 points. The boys team of MMS and IPA took top honors with 138 points and the Teamwork Champion Award. The Summer Internationals is both the concluding event of the 2013-14 robotics season, as well as the opening event of the 2014-15 season.
“The MMS Robotics 434 students and coaches again express ‘mahalo’ and ‘aloha’ to all of our supporters and sponsors of our trip to the World’s Championship in Anaheim back in April,” said team coach Kumu Kaeo Kawa’a.
Kumu Kaeo added: “The MMS Robotics 434 students and coaches also express ‘mahalo’ and ‘aloha’ to our sponsors for this International Summer Games event including: Jewell K. Kanaha and the late Masami Fukuoka; Queen Liliuokalani Childrens’ Center; County of Maui, Maui Economic Development Board, and Ke Ala Hele Education Fund.”