Lakewood Ranch FIRST LEGO Team to Compete on International Stage

The Giving Coast


Founded by Tara Bergstrom Merino, who saw a deficiency in STEM education in her community, created the Lakewood Ranch SAVVY (Student Advocates for Our Versatile and Vibrant Youth) robotics team, the LWR BotTanks. The LWR BotTanks competed on Saturday, February 1, at the West Coast Regional Championship, hosted by FIRST LEGO League. Teams were challenged this season to (1) identify a problem with a building or public space in their community and provide an innovative solution to solve it, (2) design and build a robot, associated attachments, and code to autonomously complete up to 14 different complex missions within 2.5 minutes, and (3) do it all while displaying the FIRST Core Values. 

Competing meant vying for the esteemed opportunity to be one of seven teams to advance to the Florida State Championship,  one of three to receive an invitation to compete internationally, and/or the one team to be nominated for the prestigious FIRST LEGO League Global Innovation Award. 

After an outstanding day at the Regional Championship, The LWR BotTanks designed and built a robot that can complete 14 complex tasks. The team was awarded ALL three opportunities—advancing to the Florida State Championship and to the international level in FIRST LEGO League. They were the only team to be honored with the prestigious FIRST LEGO League Global Innovation Award, which gives them the opportunity to meet government leaders, receive patents, bring their invention to market and secure funding to continue their work.

Coached by Tara Bergstrom Merino and Max (Inigo) Merino, and comprised of Lexi Brielmann, Matthew Goldberg, Jaxon Lemus, Ike Lippincott, Owen Lippincott, Tess Lippincott, Michael Merino and Natalie Merino, the team will be representing Lakewood Ranch and the entire West Coast of Florida at the South Carolina Global Invitational on May 6 – 9, and the Florida State Championship on March 28 in Niceville. 

LWR SAVVY is proud to be sponsored by Lakewood Ranch Grand Living, Lakewood Ranch, Little Geniuses, and ID8.  In order for the LWR BotTanks to represent our region at this level, the team will be seeking sponsorship up to $15,000. All money raised by a GoFundMe campaign will support the LWR BotTanks as they compete regionally and internationally from March through May 2020. 

Photo taken by New Ground Photography from the West Florida FIRST LEGO League Regional Tournament

Donate to the LWR Bot Tanks.

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