Winters Robotics team heading to Worlds

Winters Robotics Inc. high school Team 39599A members Jesus Cruz, Maddy Archibeque, Kiana Miller and Ben Nelson are heading to Dallas in April for the 2023 VEX Robotics World Championships. (Aaron Geerts/Winters Express)

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It’s official, Team 39599A of the Winters Robotics Club is heading to the 2023 VEX Robotics World Championship in Dallas next month. Although Winters may be just a blip on the map, these hometown Warriors are poised to make an impact on a global scale in their second appearance at Worlds.

On March 11–12, five Winters High School teams and three Winters Middle School teams competed in the VEX Robotics State Tournament in Silicon Valley. Team 39599A performed well enough to secure a spot at the world competition in Dallas taking place from April 25–27. With 1.1 million students (elementary through college) from over 70 countries participating in VEX programs, it’s a little more than impressive that this team from Winters has advanced to the world finals.

“The top two percent in the world make it to this championship event and I want to say there are around 22,000 teams worldwide. Team 39599A’s skills were ranked 118th in the world, too,” said robotics teacher and mentor Dianne Halsey. “This event is also great because the kids get to meet kids from across the world. It’s a celebration of a whole year of hard work, and now they get to reap the benefits of qualifying. Making it this far means not only are they in that top two percent, but that they’ve also learned a lot to get to that level.”

Beyond the competition, this weekend-long event will also feature presentations from industry professionals and allow students to network and make connections with other students from around the globe, colleges and more. Connections can only benefit these students as they gear up for college and/or the work world of engineering and robotics.

While the students coded and tinkered their way to the championship, Halsey credits much of the program’s success to an outpouring of parental support. From fundraising for parts to helping facilitate events and transportation, the parents have proven to be key cogs that keep the robotics program moving forward. In this case, moving forward to Dallas.

Team 39599A members shared their excitement about qualifying for a spot at the Worlds Championship.

“This feels really good because all our hard work has paid off,” said Jesus Cruz, a senior coder/builder. “We’re going up against these well-funded or private school teams, but funding doesn’t matter that much. What matters is what you build and how it works.”

“It feels awesome making it to worlds, but I am a little nervous. But like (Cruz) said, our hard work is paying off. All this time we’ve spent and designs we’ve gone through, just knowing our robot is capable of getting there is a great feeling,” said Ben Nelson, a junior robot driver. “It’s going to be fun seeing people from countries around the world and talk to them. There will be language barriers, but I’ve never experienced that before so I’m looking forward to it.”

“It was shocking at first. I remember thinking, ‘there’s no way we made it.’ Now, it’s like, ‘oh, we did make it, so here we go,’” said Kiana Miller, a senior coder/builder. “We deserve to be there at worlds because we have a great robot. But mostly, I’m proud of our team and how hard we’ve worked to get to Worlds.”

“I’ve never been to Texas before, so that will be cool. I’m also just really excited about it all because at first, I wasn’t sure if we’d make it to worlds, but we did and it was exciting in the moment when we found out we were going,” said Madeline Archibeque, a sophomore builder. “I remember turning to Kiana and smiling big. Then Halsey leaned over and said, ‘You guys made it!’ Later we got the email saying we officially made it. It’s awesome because I’ve never accomplished anything like this or experienced anything like this before.”

The Winters Robotics Club sent a qualifying team to the Worlds Championship for the first time in May 2022. The momentum from the experience fostered a thriving interest in Winters students to surge forward in the world of robotics competition.

The organization not only hosted a VEX Robotics Competition in October 2022 but also had multiple high school and middle school teams place in the top five — if not first place — and spots in the competition. They also had multiple teams receive Judges’ Awards in competitions across Northern California over the last few months.

The Winters Robotics Club is supported by fundraising and volunteer efforts of the nonprofit organization, Winters Robotics, Inc.

In December, eight members of the Winters Robotics Club were inducted into the International Robotics Honors Society.

For updates from Winters Robotics and its efforts to get its team to the Worlds competition, follow its social media accounts on Facebook or Instagram. For more information on how to support the team or to learn more about volunteer opportunities, send an email to

To learn more about this year’s Vex World Championship competition taking place on April 25, visit the competition website at

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