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Mind Sports Roundup

Editor’s note: Academic competition season is upon us! In Mind Sports Roundup, School News Network will be running roundups of events including Odyssey of the Mind, Science Olympiad, MathCounts and robotics. The following items were submitted by Kent ISD districts and are not meant to be a comprehensive list. 

Caledonia
Caledonia Community Schools, in its inaugural year of VEX Robotics, had two teams compete at the 2017 VEX Robotics State Championships recently at Michigan State University. Competitors from 48 high school and 28 middle school teams participated in the tournament. The students competed against each other for top state honors and the right to represent Michigan in the 2017 VEX Robotics World Championship in Louisville, Kentucky, on April 19-25.

Team ‘Screwed Up,’ composed of seventh-graders Spencer Chapp, Maddie Kosiorowski, Thomas Munson and Colin Pearson, won the match to finish up the qualifying session and ended up being chosen for the seventh alliance team.

From far left, Caledonia team members Thomas Munson, Spencer Chapp and Colin Pearson react during competition
From far left, Caledonia team members Thomas Munson, Spencer Chapp and Colin Pearson react during competition

Caledonia High School recently placed third in the state for Mock Trial, a competition through the Michigan Center for Civic Education. Students argued their case in an actual courtroom, with a real judge presiding and a jury of real practicing attorneys.

After months developing their case, Caledonia students were ready for Mock Trial with opening statements, witness questions, objections and closing arguments. It was the first year Caledonia had Mock Trial as a class, with three teams competing in the regional tournament in Grand Rapids. From there, Kalamazoo Central and Caledonia advanced to the state competition in Lansing. Kalamazoo Central, which has had a Mock Trial program since 1986, won the state championship for its 19th time.

Caledonia’s qualifying team was seeded fourth out of 12 teams at state, where they argued their plaintiff and defense case and were evaluated by their presiding judge and jury. They advanced to the semifinals, where they lost to Kalamazoo Central.

Team members included: Claire Kacznowski, Jon Knott and Gracie Aguillon, all acting as attorneys; Morgan Kingma and Natalie Oesterich as witnesses; and Maddie Nise.

Senior Andy VanZomeren and freshmen Linda Jiao and Madison McGraner proudly display their winning plaque and trophy

Grand Rapids
Team 904 D-Cubed Robotics competed in Marysville, with members from Innovation Central, University Prep, City and Montessori high schools. Through blustery winds and heavy snow, the team dedicated timeand energy to have one more tune-up before state finals, and one more chance to show that D-Cubed is for real.

Through 12 qualifying matches spread over Friday and Saturday, the team had mixed results. However, what did not waiver was the consistency that 904 displayed in their driving by Andy Van Zomeren and their human pilot, Ryk Sacha, aided by Linda Jiao and Aiden Baldwin.

After cruising through the quarterfinals and little challenge during the semis, team members and the stands erupted when the scoreboard showed a slim two-point victory in the finals for 904 and their alliance mates. At the state finals this weekend, D-Cubed are competing with the best 160 teams from around Michigan.

Grand Rapids Team 904 D-Cubed narrowly won a qualifying meet to compete in the state FIRST Robotics finals this weekend

Kenowa Hills
Alpine Elementary formed its first Odyssey of the Mind teams this year. One team placed third and both teams solved their problems. Many students had never done a long-term solution such as this and it was very eye-opening for them. Funded by a grant this year, teams ran a concession at the school carnival to raise $500 for next year’s OM program.

Some members of Alpine Elementary's first-ever Odyssey of the Mind teams happily display their medals
Some members of Alpine Elementary’s first-ever Odyssey of the Mind teams happily display their medals

Kentwood
East Kentwood High School’s Red Storm FIRST Robotics team earned the district Chairman’s Award at the recent Lakeview district competition. The prestigious award honors the team that best represents a model for other teams to emulate and best embodies the purpose and goals of FIRST, including hard work and dedication. The coveted award qualified the team for the state competition under way this week at Saginaw Valley State University.

East Kentwood High School’s Red Storm FIRST Robotics team
East Kentwood High School’s Red Storm FIRST Robotics team

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