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District 214 Robotics Team heads to World Championship

Published April 15, 2022

The District 214 WildStang Robotics Program (WRSP) is not horsin’ around. Team 111 WildStang has been dominating local and regional competitions and is now preparing to head to the FIRST® Robotics World Championship next week in Houston, Texas.

Each January, FIRST® Robotics announces a different challenge. Teams all across the world must create a robot that can complete specific tasks. This year, robots must be able shoot balls into a goal and climb on rungs to different heights– think basketball and monkey bars. Within two months, students designed and built a unique robot capable of shooting balls into an eight foot goal and climbing up seven and a half feet in the air. Once the robots were ready, they headed to competition.

Last month, WildStang went undefeated in the Central Illinois Regional in Peoria. They went 17-0 and secured their ticket to the World Championship. WildStang was also awarded the Autonomous Award sponsored by Ford for having the best autonomous program at the event.

“To go undefeated and just sweep the entire competition was just amazing. It felt so good to see that final score and to hear them announce that we won,” said Nicholas Domke, a senior at Prospect High School and the driver for WildStang.

The team consists of students from all six D214 high schools and specialized schools. This year, the WildStang program created a second team, 112 Plus One, to join in on the action.

“112 was launched this year to give more students hands-on experience designing, fabricating and building world class, competition ready robots, and to develop real world leadership and project management skills,” said Nick Strzelecki, the WSRP teacher and head coach.

Last weekend, both WildStang Robotics Program teams competed at the Midwest Regional at UIC against 45 other teams. WildStang continued its success by winning the entire Midwest Regional Competition. The team finished the competition 15-1 and was awarded the Autonomous Award sponsored by Ford for a second time as well. Domke remembers the moment while waiting for the final score.

“Everyone was screaming and jumping around. It was the best feeling ever,” he said.

112 Plus One, in its first competition, also had an impressive showing, finishing the qualification rounds in 7th place. 

“I am very proud of both teams and their many accomplishments this season,” said coach Strzelecki. “With the success that 112 had at the Midwest Regional, it proves that if we give the kids the opportunities, they will make the most of it.”

Next up for WildStang is the FIRST® Robotics World Championship in Houston, Texas on April 20 through 23. Members of team 111 will travel south to go against approximately 450 teams from around the world. 

Editor's note: Prospect High School senior Maeve Molina produced this story as part of a Multimedia Apprenticeship with District 214's Community Engagement and Outreach team.