NEBRASKA CITY – Nebraska City Middle School students earned their way to the First LEGO League state competition this year with robotic precision and a creative way to help Nevada manage its wild Mustang herd.
The Pioneer Bots claimed the overall first place trophy this weekend at Nebraska City High School, which hosted one of six qualifying events.
Dean Nielson, who has been a team coach for the past six years, said the students’ work and commitment paid off.
Nielsen: “They were able to be successful on both of the teams because of the time and effort they put in, practicing every night after school and some practices on Saturdays.”
The Pioneer Bots scored well on the robot game, core values and on its project, which proposed minimizing human interaction with wild Mustang herds by using drones to deliver birth control darts.
The Pioneer Sharks were first in the robotic game. Teams were challenged to program a robot to place a pig in the proper pen, put a bee on a bee hive and get a gecko to stick on a wall.
This is the first year Nebraska City has had an overall-champion at the regional competition and Neilsen said the students are feeling optimistic going into the state.
Nielsen: “They’re really excited. I’m really excited and very proud of what they’ve done. They’re ready to go to state. They are even talking about let’s go to nationals.”
The state competition is scheduled Feb. 18th at the Strategic Air and Space Museum in Ashland.
The Pioneer Bots are Preston Snyder, Chance Sjulin, Caleb Poggemeyer, Eric Poggemeyer, William Ramage, Yazmin Morales, Valerie Bennie, Ethan Graves and Marcus Bartman.