Needmore Robotoppers traveling to Iowa for competition

BEDFORD – Two Needmore Robotoppers, Will Thompson and Leo Mayer will be traveling to Council Bluffs, Iowa to compete in Create Foundation US Open Robotics Tournament from March 27-29.

During a North Lawrence Community Schools board meeting last week, Needmore Robotics coach Lu Kuehn explained that the team qualified for the event after receiving the Excellence Award during a competition in December.

“This is an award that we have never won in North Lawrence before, so this was the first time,” Kuehn said. “What the Excellence Award is, it’s the highest award presented in a VEX competition. You have to be in a high percentage in tournament qualification, programming, robot skills, engineering, notebook, and interviewing skills,” she explained.

Kuehn explained to the board that in an effort to improve the team’s engineering notebook skills, where they had not been as strong, the coaches brought in an engineer from Crane who shared their expertise in that area with the children.

Afterward, she said they spent 15-20 minutes of each practice practicing writing in their notebooks, making diagrams, and labeling schemes.

“They worked really hard for it. And the only way to get to this competition is to get that award,” she said.

This year, NLCS has VEX robotics teams in each of their elementary schools, as well as two teams at Bedford Middle School for a total of 14 teams in the district. NLCS currently has 47 students across their competition teams, as well as other, younger students gaining experience on scrimmage teams that practice with those who compete at events.

During the early part of the year, Shawswick Elementary will play host to three robotics tournaments, Jan. 14, 28, and Feb. 11.  Admission for viewers is free.

At the Jan. 14 event, Needmore Team F was victorious, best 23 teams, including other NLCS teams, as well as groups from Mitchell, Washington, Bloomington, Springville, and Huntingburg.

The average point ranking for that event, which saw Needmore Team F and BMS Team A compete in the finals is listed below.

  • Needmore Team F 120 points
  • BMS Team A 118 points
  • Needmore Team G 106 points
  • Needmore Team E 86 points
  • BMS Team B 64 points
  • Shawswick Team B 53 points
  • Lincoln Team B 49 points
  • Oolitic Team A 42 points
  • Lincoln Team B 41 points
  • Oolitic Team A 36 points
  • Shawswick Team A 36 points
  • Shawswick Team C 25 points

Those two teams, Needmore Team F and BMS Team A have qualified for the Indiana State VEX Robotics competition in March, which will take place at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis.

Needmore Team 70632F is sponsored by Batcole Foundation/Winnefeld Family and BMS Team A is sponsored by Dr. Jim Sowders.

Needmore Robotics is also seeking a sponsor for the Create Foundation US Open Robotics Tournament in March. Anyone interested in being a sponsor should contact Kuehn at