Another win for robotics

Notre Dame team wins big VEX Robotics league finals, which were held in school's robotics center and overseen by a distinguished group of judges.

More than 100 people were in attendance last Wednesday, Dec. 11, when Notre Dame hosted this year's VEX Robotics Competition finals in the school's robotics center. According to Louise Palardy, NDPMA's STEM specialist and manager of the robotics center, a total of 18 teams participated in the event, including teams from Notre Dame Prep and Notre Dame Middle School, Cranbrook high school and middle school, Shrine, Oakland Christian, a team from Canton and one from Troy. 

"We also were fortunate to get some really high-caliber engineers to judge the event," Palardy said. "We had Tim Grogan, a retired FCA automotive engineer and interior studio engineering manager; Lin Krankel, an electrical engineer; Ron Schaffa, a digital manufacturing specialist at FCA; Dave Herweyer, a mechanical and electrical engineer at Williams International; Sydney Clark, a mechanical engineer, also with Williams International; and Mark Krankel, who is an engineer and former VEX mentor and current director for an enterprise software company."

Palardy said the 18 teams began the competition by forming nine two-team alliances by going through the required VEX selection process. 

"They then had 15 qualification matches leading up to the finals," she said. "The 15 qualification matches were spread over three events. The results of the qualification matches gave each team a ranking number. The alliance selection process uses the team ranking and the No.-1 team can choose any team to be their alliance partner. The selection process continues until all of the teams are on an alliance."

The alliances then went through a bracketed playoff single elimination event.

The No. 7 alliance, Notre Dame's eighth-grade team, #3333X: Jefrey Guo, Pierce Marchese and Jacob Orrow, upset the No. 2 seed in the quarterfinals round. The No. 9 alliance, Notre Dame's eighth-grade team of Jose Turrubiartes, Henry Wilson, and Beck Silver, nearly upset the No. 1 alliance, which had a last-second score at the buzzer. 

The No. 1 alliance, consisting of team #33X (Payton Beckman, Ariana Reid, Ximena Gonzales, "Jerry" Yue Zha), who were paired with a team from Cranbrook, went on to win the league championship and thus qualified for the state championship.

The second-place alliance was Notre Dame team #33H (Dominic Saksa, Luka Czetkovic, Thomas Belej Alec Dimovski), plus the team from Troy.

"Notre Dame's team #33K, John Jernigan, Jackson Plas and Nic Mazzola and Joe Lasota, also qualified for the state championship with a high skills score," Palardy said. "Also, Notre Dame team #33F, Aaron Palardy, Andrew Schaldenbrand and Jackson Krieger, won the judges award for having a unique 'wall-bot' design along with an outstanding notebook and interview."

The event, which was held in the Easterwood Wing's robotics center, adjoining classroom and hallway, will again be hosted by Notre Dame next year.

Comments or questions?

Follow Notre Dame on Twitter at @NDPMA.
About Notre Dame Preparatory School and Marist Academy
Notre Dame Preparatory School and Marist Academy is a private, Catholic, independent, coeducational day school located in Oakland County. Notre Dame Preparatory School enrolls students in grades nine through twelve and has been named one of the nation's best 50 Catholic high schools (Acton Institute) four times since 2005. Notre Dame's middle and lower schools enroll students in pre-kindergarten through grade eight. All three school are International Baccalaureate "World Schools." NDPMA is conducted by the Marist Fathers and Brothers and is accredited by the Independent Schools Association of the Central States and the North Central Association Commission on Accreditation and School Improvement. For more on Notre Dame Preparatory School and Marist Academy, visit the school's home page at