MadTown Throwdown: Students compete in statewide robotics competition in Madera

Local News

MADERA, California (KSEE/KGPE) – Hundreds of high school students from all over the state met in Madera on Sunday to show off their robotics skills at the annual Madtown Throwdown. 

High school teams spent around eight weeks building and perfecting their robot; 25 robots and 17 teams competed at Matilda Torres High School in Madera.  

“At the beginning of the round it’ll automatically go and score three balls into our goal, and then it’ll run around picking up balls with that plastic bit on the end,” said Cody Wilkerson, Matilda Torres HS team president. 

“There’s three robots in each alliance and they compete against each other,” said Monterey High School student James Dodson. 

“They build a lot of experience in manufacturing, engineering, and a lot of talking to people. Public speaking,” said Vernon Valmonte, Matilda Torres HS robotics advisor. 

Students work on their projects for several hours after school. 

“We go to about 10:30 at night just building and designing it,” said Wilkerson, who said he enjoys it because he also gets to network with students statewide. 

The challenges are different each year.  

“It could be something like this, where there’s game elements that move on the field, or you’re firing a projectile into a target. Or it could be stacking objects or climbing over things,” said Valmonte, who said this was the first tournament since covid. 

The event is also one of the biggest fundraisers for the Madera Unified robotics program. It was scaled down this year to adhere to covid precautions, but organizers hope to welcome more high schools next year. 

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