The College of Southern Maryland (CSM) competitive robotics team – the Talons – headed to Dallas last week for the VEX Robotics World Championship, where they competed against dozens of university teams from around the globe to earn the title of 10th best team in the technology category and 11th best in the skills category. 

CSM’S ROBOTICS TEAM – THE TALONS – PLACE 10TH IN WORLD COMPETITION Credit: College of Southern Maryland

The team, which includes students and alumni pictured above from left, Ren Fletcher, Elissa Tuten, Michael Balazs, Paul Goldsmith, Bailey Burroughs, Nate Daetwyler, Jonathon Gross, Brianna Rourke, and Glenn Teeguarden, built and operated robots that successfully navigated this year’s challenges, “Tipping Point.” They were joined by coaches and support faculty CSM Professor of Mathematics Ann Stine, CSM Assistant Professor of Electrical Engineering Brian Warnecke, CSM Professor of Mathematics Elizabeth Rourke, and CSM Professor of Technology Ronda Jacobs.  

The Talons, who are widely known for their continued wins at the World Vex Competitions, were coming off strong performances in competitions earlier this year. The team earned their ticket to the world championship by winning an excellence award at a qualifier competition in West Virginia on March 11, where they placed second. The team also placed fifth at a competition in South Carolina in February. 

“This team was incredibly dedicated and collaborative,” said Dr. Stephanie McCaslin, associate dean of CSM’s School of Professional and Technical Studies and chair of the math and engineering department. “In addition to their team practice, the Talons also contributed time to the Educational Showcases this year and participated in a collaborative project with National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration with underwater AngelFish bots.”  

The Talons’ participation costs were covered by the CSM Foundation, the college’s fundraising arm. The international VEX U competition is sponsored by the Robotics Education and Competition (REC) Foundation, whose mission is to increase student interest and involvement in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM). Participating teams build robots to compete in a series of challenges through VEX U that involve maneuvering game elements and completing tasks. Each year, VEX U creates a new game that challenges students to design robots to score the most points against their opponents. 

Official ranking results can be seen here: https://www.robotevents.com/robot-competitions/college-competition/RE-VEXU-21-5433.html#results and https://www.robotevents.com/robot-competitions/college-competition/RE-VEXU-21-5433.html#results.


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