The Brentwood Academy Iron Eagles’ robotics team is making final adjustments to two robots that will compete April 15-18 in the VEX World Robotics Competition in Louisville, Kentucky.

Brentwood Academy is the only high school team representing the state of Tennessee. The team captured the state championship title in a competition held February 28 at McGavock High School. This is the second year for BA to field a team at the World Competition.

VEX Worlds is a gathering of top robotics teams from around the world to celebrate their accomplishments and compete with/against the best of the best. The 2015 VEX Worlds will include nearly 800 teams from over 400 VEX Robotics Competition tournaments that took place in cities around the world from June 2014 to March 2015. Teams will play the game VEX Skyrise and VEX IQ Highrise for the 2014-2015 season.

BA’s robots will compete against teams from across the United States and around the world including students from Canada, Japan, United Arab Emirates, Egypt, Puerto Rico, New Zealand, China, Mexico, Philippines, Malaysia, Taiwan, Bahrain, Colombia, Burundi, United Kingdom, South Korea, Saudi Arabia, Hong Kong, Singapore, Lebanon, Guam, and Australia.

Team members Ross Kennedy, a sophomore, and Noah Franks, a junior, have been working daily with teammates to refine their robots and tweak coding in hopes of getting an extra edge against the tough competition.

“I usually work on programming for at least two hours a day,” said Franks. “During our snow days, I would come in and work from 9:00-4:00. There are about 1,000 lines of code just for a 15-second portion of the competition.”

Kennedy says that the entire Brentwood Academy team, including younger students whose robots didn’t qualify for Worlds, is involved in the preparation.

“Everyone is involved in helping us plan strategy and conduct research about some of the other teams,” Kennedy said. “Part of the competition is partnering with other teams once we get there, and we want to scope out who those teams might be and know their strengths.”

This year’s competition, called Skyrise is played on a 12’x12’ square field. Two alliances – one “red” and one “blue” – composed of two teams each, compete in matches consisting of a 15-second autonomous period followed by 1:45 of driver-controlled play. The object of the game is to attain a higher score than the opposing Alliance by Scoring your colored Cubes in Floor Goals, on Posts or on your Skyrise, by Owning Posts, and by Building your Skyrise Sections. The Alliance with the topmost Cube on a Post Owns the Post. Alliances also earn points for Building Skyrises on their Skyrise Base out of Skyrise Sections, and Scoring Cubes on Skyrises. A bonus is awarded to the Alliance that has the most total points at the end of the Autonomous Period.

VEX Worlds is presented by Northrop Grumman Foundation, REC Foundation and sponsored by NASA, Chevron, U.S. Army, Microchip, Texas Instrument, Nissan, Ford, GE Appliances, the FUTURE Foundation and many others corporations who support STEM education.

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