Ben McCarver’s VEX Competition Experience

Ben McCarver found love at first sight after attending a robotics meetup at theCO last October.

Kabao McCarver, mother of Ben McCarver, took note of Ben’s interest in engineering from an early age. 

“Ben was inclined to all things engineering from an early age. Before he could walk, he was trying to figure out how things fit together, mostly by first tearing them apart,” Kabao explained. “His involvement in robotics gave him the ability to express his interests in a new way.

“He kept the name, Ben the Destroyer, until a few years ago when it seemed like overnight he went from ‘breaking’ everything, and all of the sudden he was the one we called on to fix everything.”

Soon, after only days of robotics experience, Ben entered the VEX Robotics State Championship Competition held in Brentwood, Tennessee, against his mother’s wishes.

“Because of Ben’s late start with the VEX competition (the new game is released in April of each year, and Ben didn’t start until October), we didn’t expect him to qualify for the state finals,” said Kabao. “It was pretty exciting to even get invited. I actually tried to talk him into skipping it, believing that while it would be a great experience, he actually stood very little chance of qualifying for Worlds.”

Despite humble expectations and a slow start, Ben and his bot were given a chance for redemption. He soon caught the eye of Brentwood Academy and was named on a team of all-stars. 

“Even though I ranked lower at State,” Ben said, “I was confident that I would be picked up based on my robot’s performance at previous competitions, but I was surprised to be chosen by such a high-ranking team.”

Ben went from 23 out of 39 to a winning ranking with Brentwood Academy. 

Though Ben has reached a national ranking and qualified for Worlds, he still credits others for his success.

“I wouldn’t have been able to do any of this without Mr. Rhodes and the robotics club at Liberty [Technology Magnet High School] and at theCO,” he said. “I am so thankful to theCO for allowing us to use the facility. Without the support of theCO, there would have been times when our club would not have had a place to work together on our robots.”