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CP Elementary takes top spot at state robotics contest

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FIRST: The Clinton Prairie Elementary Robotic Gophers displaythe Ballard Indiana Teamwork Challenge State Championship trophy they earned working with the Immanuel Warriors from Seymour. The Gophers secures a spot at the World Finals in Louisville in April.
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TEAMWORK: The Clinton Prairie Elementary Robotic Gophers work with the Immanuel Warriors from Seymour to win the Ballard Indiana Teamwork Challenge State Championship trophy Saturday. The Gophers secured a spot at the World Finalsin Louisville in April.

BY SHARON BARDONNER - sbardonner@ftimes.com

The Clinton Prairie Elementary VEX IQ Robotics team – the Robotic Gophers – took first place at the state championship Saturday held at Lucas Oil Stadium.

The team of fifth-graders finished first out of the 150 elementary teams who had earned spots at the state championship. Currently there are 903 elementary teams across Indiana, so the Robotic Gophers have shown themselves to be among the elite in robotics competition in the state.  

Members of the fifth grade championship team are Shelby Luper, Abbey Swan, R.J. Vantuinen, Blake Johnston, Colton Oswalt, Addison Miller, Morgen Carr, Kyndall Ward, Savannah Reagan and Connor McKibben. The team is coached by CP Elementary Assistant Principal Jonathan Shannon.

Members of the sixth grade team that made the state finals are Jadrian Beard, Konner Boyles, Evey Brooks, Molly Cole, Alexis Ramsey and Kayla Stewart. Teacher Jessica Brovont is the coach.

Neither the size of the venue nor the tough competition swayed the robot operators from their tasks of making it through several qualification matches to win a spot in the finals, according to Shannon.

Indianapolis Mayor Joe Hoggsett began the day by proclaiming it as Indiana VEX Robotics State Championship Day.

During the divisional final, the Robotic Gophers (Team 12131R) was paired with the Immanuel Warriors (Team 520N) from Seymour and together the competitors scored 212 points, Shannon reported.

Both teams advanced to the final together and put up an impressive score to earn the Ballard Indiana Teamwork Challenge State Champion trophy and secure a spot at the World Finals. 

The Clinton Prairie Elementary team competed for the first time only a year ago in March 2017 in Logansport at a contest held for first-year teams.

The team will compete at the 2018 VEX Robotics World Championship in Louisville from April 29-May 1.

During the event, Clinton Prairie will be paired with teams from across the United States, Puerto Rico, China, Canada, Bahrain, Hong Kong, Estonia, South Korea, India and the United Kingdom, said Shannon.

Over the next few weeks, the team will be finalizing plans and continuing to practice for this unique opportunity.

Financial support is always welcome from families, community members and businesses as 10 student team members and two coaches forge new paths for Clinton Prairie Elementary School and Clinton County.

For a video from the event, visit youtu.be/_F4iTEHCkXE.