Coleman 8th-graders head to robotics world championship

- Meet robot 11575F, better known as Larry by the students who created him.

Larry and his other programmable plastic pals are taking over Mr. Jonas’ robotics class at Coleman Middle School.

It’s actually much more than a class. They are a team – the Coleman Cobras, much acclaimed, robotics team. A team that was built by teacher Brian Jonas.

“I think robotics is a sport all on its own,” said Jonas. “I am 100 percent calling robotics a sport.”

He may have a point. They do play different positions.

“I am a builder,” Coleman 8th grader said Rowan O’Flanagan.

“I’ve done a little bit of building, some programming,” said Serenity Federspiel, who also claims responsibility for naming Larry.

Preparation is key. But they also have passion.

At the recent state robotics tournament, they won the sportsmanship award.

“We did get sportsmanship, which is a huge accomplishment for our team,” said Federspiel said.

Only 62 out of 800 robotics teams statewide make it to the state tournament. From that group, only 20 make the world championship.

Coleman is sending five of those 20 chosen teams.

The name of the game at the world championship is Vex I.Q. Ringmaster, where they will try to stack and score as many rings as possible in 60 seconds.

“There is a lot of pressure to not only pick up the rings, but to score them,” said O’Flanagan.

They’ve got two months to get ready for the championship. Coach Jonas says he's never really worried about their chances.

“You can see in the room behind me, these kids really want to be here. They are super engaged and this truly what school should be about," said Jonas.

“I’ve heard stories about Worlds from some of the kids who went last year, feels like all year. So, I’ve been really excited for a while,” said O’Flanagan.

And as for Larry, nothing less than world domination will do.

The team is raising money to help support their trip. For more information on how to help, visit

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