Robotics drone program soars to semi-finals

Published 12:00 am Thursday, March 3, 2022

FAIRMONT, W.Va. — The Ravens Robotics Flight Crew, consisting of students from Tri-State STEM+M Early College High School, placed eighth in qualifying matches and along with their alliance teammates finished with a Semi-Finals performance at the West Virginia REC Foundation Aerial Drone (RAD) Signature Event at Fairmont State University.

The drone competition is based around four teams of students, teams are paired up, navigating an arena full of obstacles and flight rules, all while trying to use the downdraft of their drones to guide ping pong balls into designated scoring areas.

After a day of qualifying rounds, the teams were ranked and in eighth place, Ravens Robotics were guaranteed to compete in the tournament bracket. Upon being selected by the fourth ranked team to partner with throughout the tournament, the teams made it to the semi-finals before being knocked out.

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The team’s lone Senior, Adyan Vissing, said “It was highly competitive and very fun. Everyone was super supportive of one another, no matter what team or school they represented.”

The Ravens turned a 1-3 record at the halfway point to a 4-3 record that lifted them into eighth place and qualifying for the single-elimination tournament.

Along with the team-based contests, the team had the opportunity to create an automated program for their drone to run as a skills challenge. Final rankings for that portion placed them sixth. Two weeks ago, at the Marshall U. RADC Qualifier at Tri-State Airport, Ravens Robotics very first drone competition, they also made it to the semi-finals and finished with a final skills placement of fifth.

Mr. Ben Larrabee, Engineering and Math teacher at TSS is the teams head coach. He stated “This just shows that our young team has a lot of room to grow and become top-rated competitors as they mature.”

They have now qualified for an opportunity to travel and compete at the REC Foundation Aerial Drones Competition World Championship in Dallas, Texas that runs from May 10-12.

For more information about Tri-State STEM+M Early College High School, please visit us at or call 740-377-4433.