University of Maryland Extension

Super Sonic Sparks to Vex World Championship

Super Sonic Sparks 4-H high school aged robotics Teams 24A and 24B will be competing at the 2016 VEX Robotics World Championship, April 20-23, Kentucky Exposition Center in Louisville, Kentucky.  This will be the eighth consecutive VEX World Championship attended by members of the Super Sonic Sparks 4-H robotics team.  Twelve Maryland teams were selected to attend the 2016 VEX World Championship based on their performance at the Maryland State Championship on Saturday, March 12, 2016, at Stevenson University.

Sixty teams that won qualifying slots at local events, came together to play the game Nothing But Net at the Maryland State Championship. Nothing But Net is played with robots made of VEX robotics components and built to fit in an 18 inch cube in their starting configuration. After the match starts the robots may unfold to any size. High school aged youth spend many hours building these competitive robots learning skills including design, engineering, problem solving, teamwork, and time management. Nothing But Net is played on a 12 foot square field. Two alliances made up of two teams each try to outscore the opponent by scoring balls and bonus balls in low and high goals and by elevating robots in the climbing zone. The competition starts with a 15 second autonomous period followed by a one minute and 45 second driver control period. There are ninety-four balls and ten bonus balls available as scoring objects. Some balls are set in designated locations on the field while others can be entered into the field during the match.

Super Sonic Sparks 4-H Team 24A comprised of Alyssa Magaha, Jackie Magaha and Ethan Warfield finished the qualifying rounds in first place with six match wins and no losses.  They were the alliance captains of the first ranked alliance and selected teams from Calvert High School 1670A and Eastern Technical High School 5839A to form their alliance.  Their alliance lost in the finals to an alliance comprised of Calvert Hall College High School 5588C and 5588E and Hereford High School 929W.  Team 24A won the tournament finalist award and a slot to the VEX World Championship.  Team 24A won the Design Award which is presented to a team that has a documented design, build and test process and the ability to articulate their methods, strategies, and contributions in a professional manner.

Super Sonic Sparks 4-H Team 24B comprised of Kayley Kiesel, Sam Krispin, JD Byron and Rhianwen Phillips won the robot skills award by scoring 360 points, the highest amount of points scored in Maryland during the one minute driver control robot skills challenge.  Winning the robot skills award, earned Team 24B a slot to the VEX World Championship.  Team 24B finished the qualifying rounds in seventh place.  They were alliance captains of the fifth ranked alliance and selected teams from Eastern Technical High School 5839B and South Hagerstown High School 9080H to be their alliance partners.  They lost in the semifinals to their Sparks teammates, the 24A alliance.

Super Sonic Sparks 4-H Teams 24A and 24B are excited to be moving on to the VEX World Championships in Louisville, Kentucky.

Sparks 4-H Club meets on the second Monday of the month, 7:00pm at the Carroll County Extension Office.  Youth ages 8-18 are welcome to join 4-H.  Sparks 4-H’ers build robots to play a game each year. Club members may ask to join the competition teams, which meet weekly.  To contact us via email, please visit

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