Robotic winners

System Overload are, left to right, Jack McAllister, Colin Schecter, and Ian Castaneda.

Wasco County 4-H robotics team System Overload earned top awards at last weekend’s middle school VEX tournament in Toppenish, Wash., and brought home the tournament’s top honors: Excellence Award, Robot Skills Champion and Tournament Finalist.

“System Overload had an excellent performance at the tournament. Ian Castaneda, Colin Schecter and Jack McAllister are working more as a unified team and putting in a lot of effort to be among the top teams at the tournaments,” Coach Jesus Acosta said.

The team traveled to the tournament specifically to compete against other middle school teams. Due to fewer middle school teams competing in VEX in Oregon, the team normally competes against high school teams in tournaments.

“The team has done well in our Oregon tournaments and was the first team from The Dalles to advance to state. Their coach wanted them to compete against other like-aged students,” said 4-H program coordinator Lu Seapy. “They are very impressive.”

Team engineer and programmer Ian Castaneda said, “We experimented with a new lift system and were excited when it actually worked.”

Acosta said the team is consistently refining mechanisms from models and making them work. “I am excited and proud of how much the team has accomplished over the past months. They have earned many opportunities that most other teams haven’t had.”

Their success at the Toppenish tournament has earned them a spot in the “2020 CREATE U.S. Middle School Robotics Championship” in Iowa April 2 through April 4.

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