Students Advanced Following Competitions Putting Custom-Built Robots to theTest

[Austin, Texas, May 9, 2019] ― Team 2158: the ausTIN CANs from Anderson High School, is wrapping up a successful year of competition in the world of competitive robotics. The competition season culminated in back-to-back weeks of participation in two different World tournaments.

The FIRST® World Robotics Championship was held April 17-20 at the George R. Brown Convention Center in Houston. The CANs were one of 400 FRC teams who came together from across the globe to participate in this year’s game, “Destination Deep Space.” Teams represented various regions of the United States as well as internationally from countries including Canada, Mexico, Ecuador, China, Turkey, Brazil, New Zealand and Australia. The competition placed the ausTIN CANs in the Hopper Division of 68 teams, and the team finished the tournament as Alliance 4 Captain after rising to be ranked #4 in the Division. This is the highest ranking in the 13 year history of this AISD team. Students reported the World Competition was great fun, both on and off the competition field. One highlight was a Finals celebration at Minute Maid Park which included a spectacular fireworks display.

Two days after returning from Houston, the ausTIN CANs switched gears and departed for Louisville, Kentucky for the VEX World Tournament held April 24-27 at the Kentucky Expo Center. Two of the Anderson teams (2158K and 2158R) were among the 580 VRC teams in attendance. These top teams, out of more than 11,400 VRC teams world wide, provided intense competition across 6 divisions. Team 21858K advanced to the playoffs in their division, paired with a team from China. All teammates had an amazing experience meeting and competing with teams from around the world. Where else might you partner with students from Ireland and Shanghai in the same morning that you meet a NASA robot scientist?

The CANs would like to express their immense gratitude to their Lead Mentor/ Teacher Mr. Vincent Wrencher, Sr. as well as their volunteer mentors, parent chaperones, and generous sponsors. Together with the Anderson High School and AISD administration, the program is thriving.

FRC Season Background:

With an intense six-week timeframe kicking off the first Saturday in January, students work with professional engineering mentors and dedicated teachers to design a robot that solves a problem using a Kit of Parts and a standard set of rules. Once these young inventors create the robot, their teams participate in district competitions across the state that measure the effectiveness of each robot, the power of collaboration, and the determination of students. The Anderson High School team qualified for the championship through two multi-day district competitions in Austin and Greenville in March, and at the FIRST in Texas state championship in Austin April 3-6. At the Austin event on March 2, the team was a finalist in the alliance match and also received the Judges Award. In Greenville on March 23, they made it to the quarterfinal round of the competition and received the Imagery Award for attractiveness in engineering and outstanding visual aesthetic integration of machine and team appearance. The CANs last went to the World event in 2017.

The ausTIN CANs FRC team has more than 30 team members, each participating on function-based project teams including: programming, CAD, business, manufacturing, electronics, pneumatics, game play strategy, and community outreach. Students gain real-world leadership and professional development skills throughout the process and most go on to major in a STEM-related field in college.

“I’m really proud of the team for qualifying for the FIRST® championship and excited to see how the robot performs among the best teams in the world,” said Karsyn Rich, ausTIN CANs student president. “As one of seven seniors on the team, I am psyched to finish my high-school robotics career by competing against international teams in Houston this week.”

“What we’re doing is way more than a competition. There’s so much going on with robotics, it’s amazing,” said Vincent Wrencher, Anderson robotics teacher and lead mentor, adding, “The students are learning things that matter for their future employment, and they are having fun doing it.”

VEX season background:

The Anderson VEX teams began competitions starting in October and continued competing through February when they attended the Southwest Regional High School VEX Championship in Kerrville. The Anderson High School ausTIN CANS VEX robotics program has more than 35 team members organized into eight small and dynamic teams. Each team is tasked with designing, building, programming, and competing with their own robots. The teams qualified for this event by competing in multiple regional events since October, and the state tournament in February. 2158K was also honored to attend a Signature Event in Virginia.

Each year, VEX creates a different game and the robot design process begins anew. This year’s game is called “Turning Point” which involves having a robot pick up game objects for placing or shooting as well as climbing a platform at the end of the match. This is truly a year-round sport; the teams begin brainstorming as soon as the challenge is released (at Worlds) and continue building and fine tuning their designs and programs with an end goal of attending the World competition the following year. A new challenge this year was converting to a new V5 system which involved learning a new programming language and determining new motor capabilities.

“I’m really proud of the teams for qualifying and I’m excited to go and compete on an international level,” said Mauricio Hernandez, ausTIN CANs VEX student president.

About ausTIN CANs Anderson High School Robotics Team

The ausTIN CANs, 2158, were founded in 2006 at Anderson High School in Austin, Texas. Since being recognized with the Rookie All-Star Award at the 2007 Lone Star Regional, the team has worked to transform their culture and inspire the next generation of innovators and engineers. The team also works in conjunction with the Scouts BSA to help bring technology and innovative learning to a wider population. From hosting summer camps through community outreach efforts, they work with students in grades 3-8 to teach robotics basics and generate excitement in learning STEM skills. The team also hosts quarterly, “Night of the Robots” events; a fun robot-themed evening with our team members

where parents can have a night out while their K-5th grader enjoys learning about robots Team sponsors include: Gene Haas Foundation, Apple, Scouts BSA, National Instruments, Texas Workforce Commission, FIRST® in Texas, IBM Corp., and The University of Texas at Austin. To learn more about the ausTIN Cans go to

About FIRST®

Accomplished inventor Dean Kamen founded FIRST® (For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology) in 1989 to inspire an appreciation of science and technology in young people. Based in Manchester, N.H., FIRST designs accessible, innovative programs to build self-confidence, knowledge, and life skills while motivating young people to pursue opportunities in science, technology, and engineering. With support from over 200 of the Fortune 500 companies and more than $80 million in college scholarships, the not-for-profit organization hosts the FIRST® Robotics Competition for students in Grades 9-12; FIRST® Tech Challenge for Grades 7-12; FIRST® LEGO® League for Grades 4-8; and FIRST® LEGO® League Jr. for Grades K-4. Gracious Professionalism® is a way of doing things that encourages high-quality work, emphasizes the value of others, and respects individuals and the community. To learn more about FIRST, go to

About VEX

VEX Robotics is a leading provider of educational and competitive robotics products to schools, universities and robotics teams around the world. The VEX IQ and VEX EDR product lines span elementary, middle, and high schools with accessible, scalable, and affordable robotics solutions. Beyond science and engineering principles, a VEX Robotics project encourages teamwork, leadership and problem solving among groups. It allows educators to easily customize projects to meet the level of students' abilities as they inspire & prepare the STEM problem-solvers of tomorrow.