ANDERSON — The Lapel High School robotics club for the first time took part in a statewide competition against several other high school teams testing their science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) skills.

The team took part in the VRC-level VEX Robotics competition at Anderson University in early February. VEX Robotics competitions are designed to spark STEM interest in students through exploratory learning.

While the group, which formed Dec. 1, finished 30th out of 31 teams, sponsor John Maryan said it was a successful event.

“It was a great experience, and the kids had a great time,” Maryan said.

Having recently assembled the eight-person team, the competition wasn’t so much about winning as it was being able to build a robot to compete.

“They accomplished that, and that was our main goal,” Maryan said. “They pushed through problems.”

Lapel Middle School has a large number of students involved in its robotics club, which should bode well for future high school teams, Maryan said.

The competition was the only one the team will take part in this year, but the skills they’re learning — problem solving and collaborative learning — will carry over into next year’s team and into the workforce, Maryan said.

“Those skills are what they need to be successful in today’s market,” he said.

Anderson University awarded VEX robotics 2017-18 “In the Zone” game sets to attending schools.

The game sets are comprised of various cones, obstacles and other field elements. The sets are valued at $500 and will provide opportunities for teams to practice for future competitions.

The robotics team could not have competed without the support of the South Madison Community Foundation, Maryan said.

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Kristy Deer is a reporter at the Greenfield Daily Reporter. She can be reached at 317-477-3262 or