A nonprofit publication of the Kentucky Center for Public Service Journalism

CovCath’s ‘Housecats’ robotics team, one of five, takes 2nd place in VEX Robotics World Tournament

Five Robotics teams from Covington Catholic High School competed in the VEX Robotics World Tournament in Dallas with over 800 teams from across the country and several foreign countries in attendance, representing over 15,000 high school teams who competed throughout the season.

One CovCath team, “The Housecats,” finished in second place overall at the World Tournament.

Another NKY team from Ignite Institute finished first. Together the placements put a big feather in Northern Kentucky’s cap: First and second place in a major international robotics competition.

The Housecats celebrated their 100th win of the year and second place overall at the VEX World Championship.

The five CovCath teams earned berths in the tournament based on their results at the Kentucky VEX Robotics State Tournament, including a first place finish there by “The Housecats,” the first state title for a CovCath robotics team.

The teams five teams were:

• Housecats: Seniors Ethan Conrad & Grant Fischer and Juniors Thomas Frondorf and Ben Scheffter 

• RoboColonels: Seniors Jason Hackman, Zach Smith, Jonah Ikeda, Jack Hovan, and Nate Hammond

• Colonelbotics: Freshmen Luke Darpel, John Gribben, Jacob Thomas, and Nic Blanchet 

• Flintstones: Juniors Brent Young, Max Gerwe, Nick Clark, and Dominic Gates 

• X-Factor: Juniors Hayden Bishop and Jackson Chamblee and Sophomores Michael 
Zechella & Will Thomas

Each team competed in separate divisions of 80+ teams in the early rounds of the tournament, with divisional finishes ranging from 59th (out of 82 teams) to 3rd place (the Housecats, out of 82 teams). After winning its 100th match of the year, and ultimately winning the playoff tournament for its division, the Housecats competed on the main floor of the “VEX Dome” arena for the championship in front of over 10,000 spectators in attendance. 
After winning all elimination matches leading up to the championship finals, they won the first match but ultimately fell in a best of three final to NKY’s Ignite Institute, finishing as the second place team in the “world.”

CCH Housecats senior Ethan Conrad said of the experience, “Being able to represent Covington Catholic and the state of Kentucky in a setting like the VEX Dome at VEX Worlds was one of the best experiences of my life. My team and I were proud to be on that stage, demonstrating our faith and engineering knowledge on the world stage. The robotics program at Covington Catholic has prepared me for almost any situation that I face on and off the field. I 
have learned many facets of engineering, however the most valuable things that I learned from this program were not related to engineering at all. Mr. (Tom) Rowe and Mr. (Bob) Lind taught us to win and lose with dignity and to always help others. This, combined with my engineering knowledge have laid the foundation for my next steps.”

In addition to obvious development of academic and technical STEM skills, robotics competitions also foster innovation, collaboration, and a commitment to continuous improvement.

Lind, director of STEM programs at Covington Catholic High School and the recipient of the “Teacher of the Year” award at the Create Foundation (Robotics) US Open in Council Bluffs, IA, in March, said, “The goal of our STEM program is to teach the young men not just the concepts of Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math, but how to use them to ethically and morally solve problems following the tenets of our faith. The robotics program, being part of our STEM program, follows this ethos. It was truly gratifying to see these young men spend a year designing, building, and implementing a plan while improvising on the fly to solve the problem at hand. To see all of their hard work and dedication pay off for them when they made the finals and finished second in the world, is beyond words.”

Rowe, also a CCH Robotics coach, was selected as the 2021-22 Kentucky Robotics Coach of the Year.

Twenty-one CovCath students on five robotics teams competed in the VEX World Championships (Photos provided)

Covington Catholic High School

Related Posts

Leave a Comment