Altamont Competes at State Robotics Tournament; Students Hope for World Championship Berth Next Year

A.J. Gallitz

A.J. Gallitz

Wednesday, March 13, 2024
Altamont Competes at State Robotics Tournament; Students Hope for World Championship Berth Next Year

Altamont's "R3" robotics team. From left to right are junior Keegan Thrasher, junior Ivan Riley, teacher Joseph McKinley (holding the robot they built and programmed), and junior Camille Eberle. Photos by Shannon Isbell.

After competing in previous weekend tournaments to raise their rankings, two upper-school Altamont Robotics teams went to the Alabama High School State Vex Robotics Tournament at Auburn University last month. Altamont's more experienced A-team, called "R3" and made up of juniors Ivan Riley, Keegan Thrasher, Olivier Maloney, and Camille Eberle, placed 14th out of 45 teams. Altamont's newer B-Team, or "ZINGED" -- freshman Claude Dumas and sophomores Nandhini Gutti, Emily Isbell, and Zahid Issa -- placed 27th. 

To compete, teams build a robot out of specific allowed materials and program it to meet challenges and perform complex tasks. This year, the challenge was to compete in a game where the robots had to move small, acorn-shaped objects past obstacles and over lines or into goals for points. Check this this tournament video for more.

According to Riley, “Altamont’s new robotics team [ZINGED] had a phenomenal first season. Both high school teams qualified for the state tournament, and the team is continuing practice in the off season to hit the ground running next year.”

Riley also says he feels optimistic about the future of his team, R3. “We performed well this season, specifically expanding on our documentation and teamwork skills," he says. "While we didn’t qualify for the [World Championship] tournament, we came very close, and qualification next year is within reach.” 

Teacher and Robotics Sponsor Joseph McKinley says, "I think all three teams did really really well. The high school teams both made it to state, which is awesome, especially for the newer team’s first season, and they both made it into the elimination tournament at state, which is awesome."

The program is looking to build up long-term with a middle-school team, too. Seventh-grader Vivaan Dudeja and sixth-graders Will Wright and Miles Sanders participated this year.


At the tournament at Auburn University are Claude Dumas, Zahid Issa, Nandhini Gutti, and Emily Isbell.

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