St. Mary’s County robotics programs are gaining momentum and are quickly becoming the “teams to beat”.  At the recent Maryland State VEX IQ Championship held on February 25 in Towson, county teams took away five invitations to the World Championship scheduled for late April in Louisville, Kentucky.

For the second year in a row, Ridge Elementary walked away with the Elementary Excellence Award, the top award given at a VEX IQ event.  The Excellence Award is presented to the team that exemplifies overall excellence in creating a high quality robotics program.  The RES Rockets also won the STEM Research Project Award for their project on “Using Robotics in Elementary Classrooms to Improve Learning”.

The GameChangers 4-H robotics team earned top honors in Design, demonstrating the ability to implement an effective and efficient robot design process.  The team not only had to produce a detailed engineering notebook which documented the entire design/build process, but they also had to meet with judges to demonstrate their knowledge and effective management of skills, time and material resources.

Gamechangers Robotics Team
Gamechangers: Holland Henderson-Boyer, Robert “RJ” Dodge, Dennis Hickey, Daniel Hickey and Raisa Lees.
Flabbergasted^5 Robotics Team
Flabbergasterd^5: Landon McDowell, Gabriel Cannavo, Morgan Anderson, Logan Heitmeyer and Florencia Dameron










A new team to the Southern Maryland Robotics Community, Flabbergasted^5, earned the Teamwork Challenge Championship.  Paired with a team from Westminster, the alliance scored an impressive 75 points in the final alliance match and securing their 3rd consecutive Teamwork Championship of the season … and earning a coveted slot to Worlds.

Two teams from Spring Ridge Middle School, SRMS Cheeze-itz and SRMS Metal Matrix also earned invitations to Worlds after posting impressive scores in the Skills Challenge.  Skills scores are a combination of autonomous operations and driving skills.  The Cheeze-itz obtained a very impressive 90 points, with the SRMS Metal Matrix right behind them with a final score of 80.

“We are very proud of our robotics program and all the schools and students that participate,” said Jason Hayes, SMCPS Science Supervisor.  “Having SMC teams named the “best” in the State is amazing and having them compete at the world level is quite an accomplishment.  I know they are going to represent us well.  I wish all the teams best of luck at the World Championship. ”

SRMS Cheeze-itz Robotics Team
SRMS Cheeze-itz: (from bottom left): Jared Republica, David Abbott, Tyler Ludlow, Emelye Loibl, Michael Shook; (top row): Gabe Tayco, Cordero Smith, Ryan Lowe, Douglass Abbott, and Coach Deryn Shook
Metal Matrix Robotics Team
Metal Matrix: Bottom row: Linden Magpuri, Riley Edgar, Gabriella Bowes, Julia Sullivan; Top Row: Matthew Lange, Jack Mewhinney, Ryan Lange, Breeanna Smith-Geisbert, Coach George Edgar; Not pictured: Coach Danny Varen

These five teams will now face off against 550 of the world’s top VEX IQ teams in a three-day challenge held at the Kentucky Expo Center in Louisville.  As teams continue to prepare and practice, they are also actively seeking sponsorship to help cover the cost of team registrations ($850 per team).  If you would like to donate to one (or all) of the teams advancing, please contact the team’s administrator:

Ridge Elementary:  Coach David at or Joni Cummins at


Spring Ridge Middle School:  Tom Galligan at

Flabbergasted^5:  Coach Lucas Anderson at


GameChangers 4-H Robotics Club:  Brenda Scheufele at

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