Montini’s Catholic Robotics Team Participates in Great Lakes VEX Tournament


Members of the Montini Catholic Robotics team were thrilled to be able to compete in their first in-person competition since 2020.

The Power Up teams (Team A – Power and Team B – Bronco) traveled to Batavia High School on January 9 for the Great Lakes VEX Tournament hosted by Fox Valley Robotics.

The VEX Robotics Competition asks students to design and build a robot to play against other teams in a game-based engineering challenge.

STEM concepts in the classroom are put to the test as students learn lifelong skills in teamwork, leadership, communication, and more. Tournaments are held year-round at regional, state, and national levels and culminate in the VEX Robotics World Championship.

Montini Robotics seeks to increase student interest and engagement in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) by participating in these events.

Montini’s Bronco B team, with lead driver Hayden Surrette, reached a season-high 131 points in the quarterfinals, coming in 14th in the standings (out of 36 teams).

Other team members were spotters Conor Kaefer and Frank Flores, programmer Michael Pogorelec, and builders Dhruv Patel, Conor Kaefer, Hayden Surrette, Michael Pogorelec, and Wyatt Prater.


The power A team with lead driver Thomas Cyze, scored a season-high 146 in the quarterfinals, placing 8th. The team included spotters Anjay Dhir, Alex Silveyra and Will Prater, coder Josh Tolefree, and builders Shree Muthukumaran and Matt Silveyra.

“Our teams met several times during the break to prepare for the competitive season,” said Pete Farina, Chief Technology Officer and Robotics Coach, Class of 1987. “Sparks literally flew as teams put the finishing touches on their robot builds in December and I had a lot of driving practice during the break. Our goal is to return to the state championship tournament at the end of February!” (Montini’s Robotics Team A – Power qualified for state last year.)

The VEX Robotics Competition, presented by the Robotics Education & Competition Foundation, is the largest and fastest growing middle and high school robotics program in the world with more than 20,000 teams from 50 countries participating in more than 1 700 competitions worldwide.

The next competition for both teams will take place on Saturday, February 19.

The Bronco A and B robotics teams include: Thomas Cyze (junior, Willowbrook, Holy Trinity Catholic School); Anjay Dhir (second year, Lombard, Glenn Westlake); Frank Flores (sophomore, Bloomingdale’s, St. Matthew); Conor Kaefer (Freshman, Lombard, Sacred Heart); Shree Muthukumaran (elder, Lombard); Dhruv Patel (Sophomore, Bolingbrook, St. Dominic’s School); Michael Pogorelec (Sophomore, Woodridge, Lakeview Junior High); Will Prater (junior, Naperville, Jefferson Junior High); Wyatt Prater (Freshman, Naperville, Jefferson Junior High); Alex Silveyra (junior, Carol Stream, St. Isidore School); Matt Silveyra (Freshman, Carol Stream, St. Isidore School); Hayden Surrette (Freshman, Downers Grove, Herrick Middle School); Josh Tolefree (senior, Broadview, St. John’s Lutheran).


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