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Las Cruces students compete in world robotics championship

Middle- and high-school students from New Mexico are in Louisville, Kentucky, this week testing the mettle of robots that they designed and built in the 2016 VEX Worlds robotics competition. Six teams earned their place in the competition by taking top awards in the VEX State Championship this past February, hosted by the Engineering New Mexico Resource Network at New Mexico State University. Among them are four teams from Las Cruces.



Students maneuver robots they designed and built on playing field for the VEX State Championship. Seven New Mexico teams won the rights to compete in VEX Worlds this week. (NMSU photo by Linda Fresques)

VEX Worlds is a gathering of top robotics teams from around the world to celebrate their accomplishments and compete among the best of the best. The 2016 VEX Worlds will include nearly 1,000 teams from more than 400 VEX Robotics Competition tournaments happening in cities around the world from June 2015 to March 2016.

?Experiences such as the VEX robotics competitions are a great way to introduce students to the concepts of engineering and capture their imagination through open-ended, hands-on, student-centered learning,? said Associate Dean of Outreach and Public Service Patricia A. Sullivan.

More than 40 teams built their own robots using kits provided by VEX for the state championship. There are two different age classifications: VRC for middle-school and high-school students, and VEX IQ for elementary-school and middle-school students.

New Mexico VRC winners are:
- St. Pius X High School, Albuquerque, Excellence Award
- Trinity Homeschool, Rio Rancho, Excellence Award-Middle School (not attending)
- Garfield STEM School, Albuquerque, Tournament Champion
- Arrowhead Park Early College High School, Las Cruces, Tournament Champion

New Mexico VEX IQ champions are:
- Vista Middle School, Las Cruces, Excellence Award
- Camino Real Middle School, Las Cruces, Finalist Teamwork Champions ? two teams
- Mesa Middle School, Las Cruces, Qualifying Teamwork Champions ? two teams

The REC Foundation manages the VEX Robotics Competition, which engages student teams worldwide with hands-on, curriculum-based robotics engineering programs while also providing valuable teamwork and problem-solving experience. Teams compete year-round at more than 800 events that culminate in April at the VEX Robotics World Championship in Louisville, Kentucky. VEX Robotics is the largest middle- and high-school robotics program in the world with more than 10,000 teams in all 50 states and more than 30 countries.

The 2016 New Mexico VEX Robotics State Championship was the third such event hosted by the Engineering New Mexico Resource Network, part of NMSU?s College of Engineering.