Recently, Tampa Prep's robotics team members and their parents drove to Leesburg for an in-person VEX States Regional Championship. Because of COVID restrictions, some States competitions are not currently happening at all, so Robotics instructor and coach KK Quah was grateful to event sponsor Bart Nash for keeping this event alive, even during these tough times.

To keep event participants and spectators safe, the fields and most of the pit areas were set up in shaded pavilions and tents outside, and everyone was masked.

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"The day was amazing on so many levels," Quah said.

  1. Team 727 Gold (Adam Thompson,  Elise Bertolino, Alex Lacy, and Johann Vennink) and Team 727 Red (Abby Mansour, Ryan Kelly, Tim Calco, and Hailley Siswanto) qualified for VEX World events.
  2. The teams won a banner and three trophies (two for Tournament Finalists and one for Regional Robot Skills Champion). Team Gold’s Robot Skills combined driver and programming score was 212.  This was a new high score for the team (their our previous high at 187, and the nearest opponent's high at 190). As a result they received a much-coveted banner, their second one,  which will soon be displayed outside Quah's classroom in the Schlemmer Engineering and Robotics Center
  3. The team can now boat that Tampa Prep has qualified for VEX Worlds three times: in 2013, 2014, and 2021. 

After the 54 qualification matches, three of the top five teams were from Tampa Prep. Team 727 Gold was in third place, 727 Red in fourth place, and 727 Crimson in fifth place. If opponent teams had never heard of Tampa Prep, they certainly know the name very well now! Quah was very proud of Freshmen Team 727 Crimson (Maddie Mitchell, Kat Grubbs, Daniel Lopez, Aidan Larkin, Sharif Chaudry, Jack Rocker, Gentry Burns) which did very well in their very first VEX States Regional Tournament. 

2021 727RG States Finalists Full Size 2021 727G State Skills Champions Full Size
Quah, who refereed during the event, said, "I could not help but to compare our team culture against that of the other 24 teams there. The VEX games are played with two red teams and two blue teams. Three team members are allowed on the field per team. Most of the other schools essentially had a driver and two others who stand there and watch. Our teams had a driver, a spotter whose role was to look for the best route to the next scoring element and talk the driver through it, and a scorekeeper whose role was to keep track of the running score and make any adjustments to the routes in the final minutes. It took us a while to get to this point, but this was what a team is supposed to do. As always, it was hard work and attention to the details that got the teams here. I hope the freshmen team members will learn from the great role models we have in veteran teams."
Quah continued, "I am grateful to the parents who attended to support the students, and special thanks to Carl Bertolino '20, an alumni mentor who was there and did a fabulous job advising the teams on match strategy and on alliance selection for the elimination matches since I had to be out in the field working as a second referee."
Senior and 727 Gold Team member Adam Thompson led the "Go Red, Go Gold" cheer until his voice turned hoarse (watch video, left).
Due to the pandemic, there are no in-person VEX Worlds this year, but there are live-streamed events. Our teams will have to decide whether or not to participate in those. If they do, we hope to have the Tampa Prep Robotics VEX Worlds Event live-streamed for everyone to watch.