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2020 - ECC robotics team competes in national tournament

Published 02/29/2020
ETC students at VEX U Robotics Competition

ETC students at VEX U Robotics Competition

On Saturday, Feb. 22, Elgin Community College’s Engineering and Technology Club (ETC) participated in the VEX U Javid Habibi Memorial Qualifier at Purdue University. After passing inspections and qualifying to play, the team placed 13th overall at the event with their two robots nicknamed Wall-E and Eve.  

This is the first time an ECC team competed in a VEX robotics challenge. ECC’s team, named EC^2, began working on their robots last fall. Due to a delay in receiving their robot kits, the team only had six weeks to plan, design, build, and test their robots before the competition.  Competition rules required each team to bring two robots.

“I’ve been waiting for this for a long time,” said Sal Spena, ETC President. “Not many community colleges participate in these competitions, and we were up against teams from big universities like the University of Illinois and Purdue University. Still, I think our team built great robots.”

VEX U is a competition for college students where teams design, build, and program robots to compete in a 12-foot by 12-foot arena. This year’s challenge was ‘Tower Takeover’ and required teams to move cubes around the arena to score points by either placing them in the goal area or by stacking them into towers. ECC was represented by students Joe Bayard, Collin Ceryance, Matt Esses, Brittany Ibarra, Adam Pillari, Sal Spena, and Ryan Wilmington.

“It was clear to me that competing against the universities made our team nervous, excited, and open to all the ideas and resources our students hadn’t yet considered,” said Abigail Bailey, ECC professor of math and team coach. “They got a feel for how much time, parts, troubleshooting, and teamwork goes into a well thought out design. It was exciting to witness.”

The club plans to focus on next year’s competitions, and although several current members will graduate in May, the goal is to recruit new students and start prepping them this semester. “We hope ECC will continue to send teams to VEX competitions and that our teams will inspire other community colleges to participate as well,” says Pillari, ETC communications officer.

The team is sponsored by Ted Eltzroth, professor of physics, Carla Sattler, adjunct professor of engineering, and the Math Department. Get more information on the Engineering Tech Club, including how to join, here..