VEX Team “Havoc” Takes State


Karyn Malench

VEX team, “Havoc,” poses for a picture after their state win.

By Sidney Hines, Features Editor

Last month, Niles West’s robotics program hosted the VEX State Championships, in which VEX team 321H, Havoc, took first out of the 56 teams competing. The team is comprised of juniors Alex KubitErick Dunker, Thomas Mitchell, Chad Beutelspacher, Tommy Nguyen, and Kiel Hall. This win allows the team to pursue a national championship in Louisville, Kentucky, in April.

Competing and winning in a state competition is no easy feat, and the boys are looking forward to preparing for the next level.

“We’re rebuilding our state robot and changing a couple of things,” junior Alex Kubit said. “We’re changing parts of the intake and drive train, to make a better quality robot.”

Creating the winning robot also took lots of trial and error, which the team is expecting during their preparation for nationals.

“A lot of testing and preparation went into creating our robot,” Kubit said. “We built a lot of different versions of what we wanted — five, including the state build.”

Although their concentration is now on winning nationals, the feeling of winning state is one that junior Thomas Mitchell won’t forget.

“It felt amazing, winning at the end against Batavia and Niles North. The team was so exuberant and the finals match was so nerve-racking. It was great to come out with the win,” Mitchell said.

Mitchell’s and the team’s diligent work this whole year has catapulted them to being recognized as one of the top tier teams in the state.

“We started off in the summer building a puncher robot to test strategy and different designs,” Mitchell said. “We then pivoted to the flywheel design in September and then halfway into January switched to the catapult design. The main benefits of that catapult design are that we can shoot two balls at once and score in two different flags. We worked on our robot Mondays and Wednesdays after school, and for four to six hours on Saturdays.”

Make sure to congratulate the boys on their win as they prepare for nationals on April 24.