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College Park Middle robotics team dominates state competition, qualifies for VEX World Championship

Published Monday, March 4, 2019

CPM robotics team

Members of the CPM VEX robotics team pose for a photo after a dominant showing at the state competition on March 2, 2019. (BCSD photo)

Three years ago Lisa Muggeo took a group of College Park Middle students with an interest in robotics and began building a program. The goal was to maintain their interest in robotics and STEM activities while igniting a passion for building, learning and competing.

Last year the CPM VEX robotics team got some well-deserved attention, as aspiring engineers on the team won an overall excellence award and qualified for state and national competitions.

Though a majority of those students have moved on to high school, what was built at CPM has only become stronger. The team competes with passion and confidence, and it’s name, “Insquiring” has become familiar at competitions in the Lowcountry and across the state.

This past weekend “Insquiring” was heard on the sound system at Dutch Fork Middle several times. The team won three of 14 awards available at the Palmetto State VEX Robotics Competition – more than any of the other school teams.  

Two of those awards – Tournament Champion and Robot Skills Champion, are awards that come with an invitation to the World Championship. The Judges Award Insquiring obtained was simply an appropriate way for CPM to polish off a dominant showing.

“Intense!” – That’s how Muggeo describes her work with the team this year. Team members have been practicing hard on weekends, before school in the mornings and after school in the evenings. They are making the best of every chance to learn, and their success this year proves it.

Before the state tournament the team participated in a VEX Robotics Google Signature event in Sunnyvale, California. They were the only South Carolina team at the event and one of only 63 in attendance.

“It was an incredible opportunity, and the students represented Berkeley County well,” Muggeo said. “They were told they had great documentation. They were interviewed (not all teams are) and they finished in the middle of the pack. It was an amazing experience for them.”

That experience followed equally impressive finishes at local and regional competitions. Before visiting Dutch Fork this weekend, the team was already known for awards at The Cougar Challenge, Mustang Middle Match Up and the Lowcountry Qualifier.

“College Park Middle is so proud that the perseverance and dedication from these students has paid off,” Muggeo said.

As Insquiring now sets its sights on a big national competition, team members are working to raise money to get there. Muggeo said they need the community’s help.

“They are working hard to raise money. They have been selling Krispy Kreme Doughnuts, written grants, knocked on doors for business sponsors and even hosted their own bake sale on the weekend. They are chipping away at their overall goal but can still use some help,” she said.

Brian Troutman