Team 1812A from North Marion High School places first in the Bronze Division at state

COURTESY PHOTO: SHERIE MORAN - North Marion High School's Team 1812A placed first in the Bronze Division on Saturday at the Oregon State VEX Robotics Championships at Chemeketa Community College in Salem. The team is made of up Hunter Wierstra, Jai Levine, Wyatt Jeppersen and Calvin Sahlin.North Marion High School's Team 1812A (with its G.O.A.T. robot) took the No. 1 position in the Bronze Division on Saturday after two days of intense competition at the Oregon State VEX Robotics Championship at Chemeketa Community College in Salem.

Invited to the platinum division based on their robot skills scores, the little robot that could didn't give up against veteran teams and some participants that have been involved in robotics competitions for seven to 10 years. Even after a respectable showing, they didn't make it through alliance selection at that level so were dropped to the Bronze division.

Not deterred, team captain Hunter Wierstra and and team manager Jai Levine, along with teammates Wyatt Jeppersen and Calvin Sahlin, regrouped and "determined to be the best that they could be in that division," explained adviser and teacher Sherie Moran. "Given that this was only their second trip to state (first for Sahlin), all the young men show a professionalism and composure under fire envied by many of their peers panicking in the pit area behind the screens. And their efforts paid off."

Moran noted that taking home a tournament champion trophy, even a bronze one, as a sophomore is a proud moment.

"I'm thrilled that they are having fun and learning technical and professional skills that will serve them well when they enter the workforce or college in a field that is screaming for workers," she said.

Not to be left unmentioned, Moran is proud of all six of her teams that represented North Marion.

This is the first year North Marion had a girls only team. That team, as well as others, is new, meaning there are more years to look forward to as they hone their skills.

The captains of the six teams are Hunter Wierstra, Samantha Patton, Beau Wilson, Cody Langshaw, Maya Bramel and Evan Price.

"(They) deserve special recognition for their leadership skill in spite of the fact they are learning the content themselves," Moran said.

Both Patton and Langshaw led their teams into the finals as alliance captains in the Gold Division.

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