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USD Hosts Third Annual Robotics Competition

Photo of sign that reads "Maze 3" and the maze. Students prepare for almost three months to program a robot, provided by USD, through a maze.

VERMILLION, S.D. – The University of South Dakota hosted 29 teams from 16 high schools at the third annual USD Robotics Competition.

Students from the top 10 teams received a USD housing scholarship valued at over $2,000 every year they remain on campus with a possibility of earning over $8,000 over a four-year span.

Quoc Nam Tran, chair of the computer science program at USD, said they made the switch from a traditional programming contest to robotics to generate interest in the competition. It also allowed participants more time, almost three months, to prepare for the event which challenges students to program a robot, provided by USD, through a maze.

Starting this fall, USD will also offer a new online dual credit course in robotic programming which will formally train students for both the competition and their future academic studies.

The top three placing team which received additional prizes:
First place - Omaha Northwest - Robert Harshbarger, Alex Nordin, Brandon Micek
Second place - Mitchell High School - Natalie Buckley, Ethan Roth, Jordan Thill
Third place - Omaha Northwest - Kevin Rateni Iatauro, Adam Strasser, Brett Hillabrand

A list of scholarship winners:

Bellevue East High School - Gavin Van Ornum and Brendon Nelson
Estherville Lincoln County Central - Chloe Bauler, Colin Tibbetts, Jessica Wilson, Chiara Bartolo and Michael Christensen
Hinton High School - Bradly Shanahan
Kinsley-Pierson High School - Connor Toliver and Jadon Woehler
Lincoln Christian High School - Nathan Mills
Lincoln Southeast High School - Sabrina Nelsen and Alicia Rauner
Mitchell High School - Natalie Buckley, Jack Dailey, Shane Fahey, Caleb Gebhard, Alex Pierce, Lucas Putnam, Ethan Roth, Jordan Thill
Omaha Northwest - Robert Harshbarger, Brett Hillabrand, Alex Nordin, Kevin Rateni Iatauro


USD's College of Arts & Sciences offers students a top-notch undergraduate liberal arts education in the humanities, social sciences and sciences as well as graduate programs that have earned USD distinction as a research university by the Carnegie Foundation. The college's more than 22,000 alumni include famous journalists, Hollywood screenwriters, novelists, a Nobel Prize winner, South Dakota governors, attorneys, physicians, justices of the state Supreme Court, distinguished university faculty and international humanitarians.


Founded in 1862 and the first university in the Dakotas, the University of South Dakota is the only public liberal arts university in the state, with 202 undergraduate and 84 graduate programs in the College of Arts & Sciences, School of Education, Knudson School of Law, Sanford School of Medicine, School of Health Sciences, Beacom School of Business and College of Fine Arts. With an enrollment of nearly 10,000 students and more than 400 faculty, USD has a 16:1 student/faculty ratio, and it ranks among the best in academics and affordability. USD’s 18 athletic programs compete at the NCAA Division I level.


Hanna DeLange
USD News