SYRACUSE — Wawasee VEX Robotics team, the “Iron Pride” hosted the largest tournament in Indiana Saturday, Feb. 13, winning their fourth tournament championship and setting up an undefeated, if short regular season.
Fifty-five teams from across the state traveled to Wawasee for the last in person tournament for Indiana. Prior to the elimination bracket Wawasee’s 574C, ranked second, declined being selected by the top ranked Heritage Christian team, 6210X, instead picking the 11th ranked 6842C from Park Tudor. 6210X then chose 574D to partner with for eliminations.
The clear favorite, 574D and 6210X sailed easily through the round of 16, but D suffered technical difficulties during quarterfinals against a particularly fierce alliance from 7701H from Zionsville and 2567K from Portage and lost in an upset. The underdogs 574C and 6842C faced off in the finals against the formidable foes from Zionsville and Portage, narrowly winning the tournament with a score of 14-10.
The tournament was also the last time many seniors would be competing in person as all future events, including state and world championships, will be virtual. The seniors were recognized at the tournament for their Senior Night. Vanessa Wright of 574B, two members of 574C, Evan Rassi and Taylor Fiedeke, and all four members of 574D, Connor Byrd, Nathan Smith, Noah Beckner, and Wesley Hays, are all graduating.
“It’s been an honor to coach these kids for the last four years,” said Iron Pride Head Coach Jed Wandland, “They truly are the best in the world and demonstrate that both in their character and in competition.”
In robot skills, 574E set an impressive personal best of 125 points, placing them 17th at the tournament and 43rd in the state. “This team has made some incredible strides,” said Wandland, “I look forward to seeing what they can accomplish in the future.”
All teams follow COVID precautions and social distancing. Only coaches, team members and essential volunteers are allowed. Spectators can watch all the matches on YouTube, search Wawasee Iron Pride.
574C — Tournament champion, second place qualifier, state qualifier, 33rd robot skills
574D — Sixth place qualifier, 29th robot skills, quarterfinals
574E — 33rd place qualifier, 17th robot skills
574B — 39th place qualifier
574A — 53rd place qualifier
This is the last scheduled tournament of the 2020-21 season. State and worlds are virtual. State is March 6-7.