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Robotics for the win: Local high school teams will compete on the world stage

Robotics teams from Bakersfield, McFarland, Centennial, and North High Schools have all qualified to compete in the VEX Robotics World Championships in Dallas, Texas.
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Posted at 10:20 PM, Mar 16, 2023
and last updated 2023-03-17 12:17:34-04

BAKERSFIELD, Calif. (KERO) — Four local high school robotics teams are working their way up the ranks in the VEX Robotics Competition, and team members tell 23ABC that it's been a long time coming.

McFarland Robotics Advisor David Cisneros says the McFarland High Robotics Team, which will be going to the VEX World Championships in Dallas, Texas in April, is working hard to earn their spot.

"They have been perfecting this robot and strategizing for about 9 to 10 months now, from taking it home on the weekends and taking it home after school. They're trying to perfect their robot, so they really do deserve to go to the World Championship and compete against 40 other nations," said Cisneros.

McFarland's robot, along with more than 20 other robots from across the district, traveled to Cal Poly San Luis Obispo to compete in the VEX California State Championships. The teams were competing for 7 invitations to the World Championships.

This year, the robot's challenge is a game called Spin Up, with the robots scoring points by shooting discs into goals, spinning rollers to show your team's color (either red or blue), and finally covering field tiles at the end of the match.

Teams can form alliances with other schools, which is what Centennial High and Bakersfield High did. McFarland and SLO High Schools teamed up, too. All teams from both alliances qualified for the trip to Dallas.

Before this year, only 6 teams from the Kern High School District had ever qualified to compete at the VEX World Championships, and the kids are excited.

"The first time any teams from our school have qualified for a major event, almost," said Yasir Rubio, a member of the McFarland Robotics Team.

To North High Robotics Team member Cooper Dreher, it felt almost like fate.

"We were under the impression that we didn't make it to World's, and I was checking my phone because I thought maybe there's still an off-chance we can make it, and I read a whole Notes document on it to see if it was even possible, and, like, drew it out," said Dreher. "And I had a feeling that everything that needed to happen happened."

Alehandro Reyes with the Bakersfield High School Robotics Team remembers the team's celebration.

"It was the first time Kyle hugged me," said Reyes. "I was overjoyed with that."

Centennial Robotics Team members Albert Moon and Christian Mills also celebrated the news.

"We were kind of like jumping and doing this (have no video, so i don't know what they were doing) to each other," said Moon. "We were very excited."

"It was pretty crazy," agreed Mills. "We had our coach come over. We were yelling. He yelled back. We're all just hugging each other. It was really fun."

All of the qualifying robotics teams are set to head to the VEX World Championships in Dallas, Texas, which runs from Tuesday, April 25 to Thursday, May 4. Stay connected to 23ABC as we continue to follow their championship journey.