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It goes deeper than gold: Parkersburg High School’s robotics team wins states

A local high school's robotics team just won states.
Published: May. 20, 2022 at 9:27 AM EDT
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PARKERSBURG, W.Va. (WTAP) - The Parkersburg High School robotics team members are now state champs.

It’s a team that designs, builds, and programs robots from the ground up.

To score points at states, they had to get creative, navigating their robot through an obstacle course.

Sophomore Jackson Simmons explained, “They have small little donuts that are perfect to get wheels stuck into and mess with coding and driving.”

Senior Bradley Leonard added, “So we designed a robot around the donut so they flow under the robot instead of getting stuck under it.”

The victory was emotional.

Coach Bobbie Gelpi remembered, “I cried. I cried. I was just terrified for them that it wouldn’t work but it did…they pulled it off.”

Afterall, it took hours and hours of preparation. In fact, one of their robots took over 500 hours to perfect.

Leonard said, “It’s usually daily. We spend weekends after school hours. Sometimes we almost spend the night.”

Still, this team isn’t just about winning. Their coaches are most proud of their teamwork and sportsmanship.

When asked what they did after they won, Sophomore Logan Miller said, “We went over to the other team to tell them good job to make sure they know they were still doing a good job.”

Gelpi said their high school robotics program is about something much deeper than a championship. It’s about representing the state.

“We want high-tech industries to understand that we’re workforce ready. There’s not a dearth of talented individuals who can use technology. We have young people who can do some pretty incredible things,” she said.

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