Swather coach seeking to stack state bracket

The Hesston Robotics Team swept through Topeka and brought home all, but one trophy, from the weekend tournament.

“I just want to stack state,” said robotics instructor Trevor Foreman. “This pace might not be kept up in the future, but that’s why we’re going really full-bore, because I really have an incredible senior class.”

As the Swathers cut through qualifications and semi-finals, only one team from Maize came out on top of 7862 teams.

“At the end of the qualification matches, we were in trouble because the first place team was a non-Hesston team and then, second through fifth were Hesston teams.  They had first pick and obviously took a Hesston team, so we couldn’t all go in, together.  We were chosen as the Maize alliance partner and ended up winning the competition against John [Grimsley] and Cedon [Yoder and Aaron [Friesen] and Chase [Jahay],” said senior Luke Arrasmith.

Arrasmith, who had recently taken part in the Omaha, Neb., competition, said coming back to Kansas was a relief.

“Nebraska had like, 80 teams there, and it was run pretty fast. This meet was run pretty slow,” he said.

Grimsley, while his team made it into the finals, said communication issues plagued his team.

“We were told we were going for blue, we had a teammate that thought we were going for red. It cost us some points,” he said.

“It’s not really all that uncommon to score for the other team. It’s less being confused and more something didn’t work out and ended up giving the other team points,” said Foreman.

In the case of scoring points with flags, Foreman explained in order to score a red point, red team players must aim for a blue flag.

“I can see how it happens. You’re playing fast, glance up and in that split second you think ‘Red!? Blue?! Red!? Blue!?’ and you just shoot,” said Foreman.

While at the meet, Swathers noticed a serious competitor on the horizon – Maize schools.

“The only thing we have over Maize is time and experience. They’ll get better,” said senior Dylan Dilks.

This season, the Swathers jammed four meets into just two weeks in an effort to qualify as many teams for State, as possible. 

“The teams, who were not qualified for state, yet, went to Topeka. More compete on Tuesday at St. John and then teams that still haven’t qualified go to Derby on Saturday,” said Foreman.

Foreman said his bid to stack the state competition in Hesston’s favor has been successful.

“We have eight teams qualified and only one non-Hesston team is headed for State, right now,” he said.

With senior robotics students well into the double-digit career trophy count, Foreman said he is happy to let them keep stacking on awards.

“These are a really exceptional group of seniors and they’ve earned it. Next year, things are going to start getting tough. We’ve got some good rookies, but this year’s seniors really are just a special group,” he said.

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