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Williamstown Elementary Sixth-Graders Win Berkshire Robotics Challenge
05:23PM / Saturday, March 24, 2018
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WES LegoHeads II from Williamstown Elementary School - Noelle Dravis, Julia Goh, Grace Winters, Emma Kate Hane, Emma Swoap and Lila Cohen-McFall, stand with coach Tom Welch after winning the Berkshire Robotics Challenge on Saturday.

The team from St. Mary's School in Lee was called 'Anything But Last.' The team did not come in last in Saturday's Robotics Challenge.

LENOX, Mass. — A team of sixth-graders from Williamstown Elementary School won the 19th annual Berkshire Robotics Challenge at Lenox Memorial Middle and High School on Saturday.

Noelle Dravis, Julia Goh and Grace Winters took turns guiding the team’s Lego robot through seven rounds of competition, capped by a dramatic 110-100 win in the finals over the runner-up from the Berkshire Christian Homeschool group.

Lila Cohen-McFall, Emma Kate Hane and Emma Swoap also participated on the winning team, dubbed WES LegoHeads II, which finished the early rounds of the 17-team competition seeded third among eight squads who moved on to the single-elimination finals.

The contest, sponsored by Berkshire Community College and the Berkshire Innovation Center, challenges the elementary- and middle-school aged pupils to build and program their robots to complete a number of tasks in rounds that last 2 minutes, 30 seconds. The teams are awarded points for completed tasks with points deducted if they have to “rescue” their robot from the competition surface turing a round. This year’s competition included 118 students ages 8 to 14.

After the four preliminary morning rounds, Berkshire Christian School’s 410 points left it 40 points ahead of Lanesborough Elementary School, leaving those two teams headed into the playoffs as the first and second seeds. The WES LegoHeads II squad was in third place with 305 points, and L.A.M.B.C.H.O.P., the Berkshire Christian Homeschool team, was seeded fourth. The top eight was rounded out by both of the other two Williamstown Elementary School teams as well as one of the two teams from Hancock Elementary and the team from Lee Elementary School.

WES LEGOHeads I teammates react to a run on Saturday.

All four of the top seeds advanced through the quarter-final round, but that was far from the case in the semifinals.

Berkshire Christian Homeschool posted the day’s best round to upset top-seed Nexus in their semifinal, 165-140. In the other semifinal, WES LegoHeads II edged Lanesborough Elementary, 120-110.

L.A.M.B.C.H.O.P., which included Eli Logsdon, Sam Logsdon, Emma Shaw, Isiah Shaw, Calvin Shaw, Jeremiah Smith and Averon Superneau, ended up on the short end of a competitive final but took home two of day’s other top prizes that were awarded for various categories: the Best Programming Award and the Against All Odds Award for overcoming obstacles during the competition. 

In addition, Berkshire Christian School won the Best Mechanical Design Award. Kontrolled Khaos I from Hoosac Valley won the Most Innovative Design Award. Kontrolled Khaos II from Hoosac Valley won the award for Best Research Project, recognizing its work exploring the this year’s theme of this year’s national Lego Robotics program, hydrodynamics. The Rookie Team of the Year Award went to St. Mary’s School in Lee.

Williamstown’s LegoHeads II and LegoHeads III shared the Comeback Kids Award. The former improved from 80 points to 135 points between its first and second rounds; the latter recovered from a 10-point first round to battle its way into the eight-team playoff.

The WES LegoHeads II squad won the Sportsmanship and Team Spirit Award in addition to claiming Williamstown Elementary School’s first-ever team championship in the competition.

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