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10 Questions with Valpo's Robotic Football Collegiate Conference Champions



  1. How does it feel to defended your title as champions?
    Lauren Kadlec ’24: I feel very proud of our team. I have been walking on clouds since the win. Victory is very sweet.
    Kristina Labovic ’23: It feels amazing and well deserved! 

  2. What do you think was different this time around?
    Lauren Kadlec: Our robot drivers have been practicing for the competition since August. Throughoutthat time, they have learned to drive and communicate as a team. At the same time, our build team has built three new robots, including two new “Falcon” running backs and our lineman “uber-pusher” who can push 375 lbs.

    Kristina Labovic: This time around we had a stronger team dynamic and more time to practice (we had the entire year whereas last year we just had one half semester). 
    Robotics Champs
  3. How close was the game?
    Lauren Kadlec: We played two games, neither of which were particularly close. In the final game against our rival, Notre Dame, we won 75 to 24. 

  4. What was your favorite part of the conference?

    Lauren Kadlec: My favorite part of the conference was seeing the new teams. Calvin, Trine      and Mount Union do not have enough robots to compete in the competition yet, but the robots they have show great promise. I love to see the sport of robotic football grow.
    Kristina Labovic: My favorite part of the conference was the pep talk at the beginning of the day because we were all together huddled up and ready to do our best at the competition!

  5. How many times do you practice with the robots on average?
    Lauren Kadlec: Our drive team meets twice a week and our build team meets three times a week. We have been preparing for this all year long. In addition, we have held three scrimmages to practice.
    Kristina Labovic: The drive team practices twice a week for an hour and a half, and the build team meets three times a week for a total of four hours.
    Robotics Team
  6. Were there any unexpected twists in the conference this year?
    Lauren Kadlec: In the middle of the conference, there was a combine. This is when all teams compete on various drills for points. We had been preparing primarily for the actual competition, so we were not expecting to do well on the combine. We ran the drills mostly as practice. Despite that, we won the combine!
    Kristina Labovic: We misplaced one type of battery that is for our fastest robots, and it took us some time to find them, so that was stressful, but everything worked out! 

  7. How confident were you about winning when you showed up to the conference?
    Lauren Kadlec: Going into the conference, we knew we were a competitive team. Still, the U.S. Naval Academy and Notre Dame were tough competition, and no one knew what progress they had made in the last year. We were hopeful, but not confident that we would win.
    Kristina Labovic: We were confident in our abilities and were prepared to try our best, regardless of the outcome 

  8. One word to describe the Robotics team?
    Lauren Kadlec: Community.
    Kristina Labovic: Incredible. 

  9. Reaction upon seeing the final score?
    Lauren Kadlec: I was ecstatic! My smile did not fade for several hours. I felt so proud of the entire team.
    Kristina Labovic: Shocked, excited, and proud of our hard work showing off. 

  10. What’s next for Robotics?
    Lauren Kadlec: We are not done for the season! Our Vex U program is going to Worlds in Dallas from April 25-29. Also, even though we will not compete again for another year, we already have new systems in the works for next year. Expect big things.
    Kristina Labovic: Rebuild the robots, and get the football team ready and working towards next year’s goals. Also, we need to get our VEXU team ready for the VEX U Worlds competition at the end of April!


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