Kokomo Tribune; Kokomo, Indiana

December 22, 2013

Central Middle School to send team to LEGO competition

Kokomo Tribune

---- — Central Middle International School students will compete in the National FIRST LEGO League tournament this spring after the school’s SpaceLab ONE Black team qualiifed at a regional tournament.

SpaceLab ONE Black Team placed first in the robot performance competition and took the second-place champions award at the 2013 FFL Indiana Championship Tournament held Dec. 17 in Fort Wayne. Maple Crest Middle School also sent a RoboKats team for its rookie appearance at the tournament.

Approximately 250 LEGO teams competed in the regional tournaments across the state for the opportunity to participate in the 14th annual Indiana Championship at Indiana Purdue at Fort Wayne.

The SpaceLab ONE Black team was made up of Andralise Blackshear, Braxton Burkett, Liesl Elkin, Nate Elkin, Jerzie Eagle, Wes Grove and Ethan Smith. Kokomo Schools teacher Jim McCarter coaches the Central squad, assisted by Hillary Elkin and June Ostercamp-Smith.

The YETI team, from Granger, won the first-place champions award to earn the other National LEGO Tournament berth. YETI and SpaceLab ONE Black will travel to a national tournament this spring, with one squad traveling to LEGO Land California and the other to LEGO Land Florida.

Maple Crest RoboKats coach Paula Schmidt-Hobbs was proud of her team members — Brianna Dean, Chris Pinto, Alexis Smith, and Alex Uhle — for finishing 15th among the 52 state-qualifying squads at the Indiana Championship competition.

“Being our first year in the FLL tourneys, this was a very exciting experience for our students,” Schmidt-Hobbs said. “The Maple Crest team performed well under pressure, and I was very pleased with our placing in the robot competition. The students learned so much by being surrounded by such outstanding teams, including the team from Central.”