For the fourth time in five years, Smith-Cotton's Team SCREAM is headed to the world championships.

The Smith-Cotton High School robotics team finished as a runner-up at the FIRST Robotics Championships Rock City Regional in Little Rock, Ark. on Saturday, but because one of the winning alliance members won the Chairman's Award, which provides an automatic ticket to the world championships, Team SCREAM received a wildcard ticket as the alliance captain of a finalist team, according to a press release from the Sedalia 200 School District.

Team SCREAM Head Coach Kyle Stoecklein said: “The rankings don't show it but we struggled a little at first. We updated our shooting mechanism, which took all day Thursday, and on Friday we were trying to hone in our shot in most matches. Saturday we decided to play more defense than anything.”

The teams are competing in FIRST Steamworks, which is a competition that involves creating a robot that can shoot plastic balls into high and low goals, place gears to drive rotors, and climb a rope to an airship control center. Team SCREAM finished qualifying matches on Saturday as the Number 3-ranked team, and selected Botbusters, from Monterrey, Mexico; and S.C.R.E.E.C.H. from Sepulpa, Okla., as its playoffs alliance partners. Stoecklein said both teams had robots that excelled at placing the gears.

The winning alliance included Black Hawk Robotics from Heath, Texas; Bomb Squad, of Mountain Home, Ark.; and KnightVision, of Baton Rouge, La. Black Hawk Robotics also won the Chairman’s Award, opening the slot for Team SCREAM to get its ticket punched for the world championships. Since its creation, Team SCREAM has only missed out on FIRST’s finals one time, in 2016.

Team SCREAM heads to the Kansas City Regionals this Thursday, with its sights set on improving the performance of its robot and capturing a regional championship banner.

“We will need to address our gear intake and vision control before heading to KC next weekend,” Stoecklein said. “Our mechanical and programming teams will have their work cut out for them.”

Stoecklein praised his team’s dedication and drive.

“Our pit was non-stop when they had the chance to work on the robot,” he said. “And if our pit crew wasn’t busy enough, we had programmers working constantly to fix coding problems or develop autonomous modes. Our scouts did an amazing job of finding the two robots that no one else saw because of their development of our scouting app. This was an amazing experience and I am ecstatic that our team has found a way to worlds once again.”

Stoecklein also said Team SCREAM went into the Rock City Regional and saw it as a "tune up" for the Kansas City competition.

“We just wanted some driver training and to be able to work with the robot. None of us had any idea we would end up at worlds by the end of it,” Stoecklein said.

Team SCREAM will participate in the 2017 FIRST World Championship in St. Louis, on April 26-29.

Sedalia 200