Northern Star Scouts Qualify for Vex IQ Robotics World Championship

A parent sponsored team from Northern Star Troop 3357 will compete in the VEX Robotics World Championship in May.

A team of two young men from Troop 3357 has earned a spot in the prestigious VEX Robotics World Championship, which will be held in Dallas, Texas from April 25 to May 3. The team, called Kimball Microbots, is one of the few parent sponsored teams in the country to qualify for the global event, which will feature more than 1,600 teams from 70 countries. The team was formed by Scout Hunter Freeman (13), Second Class Garrett Ludlow (14) from Kimball’s Troop 357 along with head coach Andrew Freeman and assistant coach Erik Ludlow. Both young men are active in youth sports and the Scouts BSA program along with robotics.

Garrett and Hunter have been members of scouting since Cub Scouts earning their Arrow of Light Awards and being active in their troop for 2+ years. Robotics has given them a chance to put the skills they have learned in scouting to the test. Being active in scouts has given them teamwork and leadership skills needed to be competitive in the state and now world level. The boys put the Scout Motto, “Be Prepared” to the test at several of their competitions after unexpected events caused them to completely rebuild their robot on center stage with a 15 minute clock and only seconds to spare.

Garrett Ludlow said the following, “My scouting experiences helped me remain calm and focus on the task at hand. I took lessons I learned at scout camp and used those to focus on my robot and helping my team excel in the tournaments.”

Hunter Freeman also touted his scouting experiences by saying, “I felt confident speaking to the judges and explaining how we built our robot because of my experiences in scouting. It was a great feeling to know that I had similar conversations with my scout leaders and I could apply that to robotics.”

The team is seeking sponsorships and donations to cover the costs of registration, materials, and equipment for the world championship. Anyone who is interested in supporting the team can visit their go fund me at Fundraiser by Andrew Freeman : Help Hunter and Garrett go to worlds robot event! (

The VEX Robotics Program is the largest and fastest growing elementary, middle school and high school robotics program globally. Each year, an exciting engineering challenge is presented in the form of a game. This year’s IQ game is called Full Volume and is a challenge of collecting and sorting blocks of different sizes and colors. This student centered program, with minimum guidance from their teachers and mentors, builds innovative robots and compete year-round in a variety of matches. In addition to learning valuable engineering skills, students gain life skills such as teamwork, perseverance, communication, collaboration, project management, and critical thinking.

The MicroBots formed their VEX Robotics Competition team in the fall of 2023 and have won several awards at local and regional tournaments. They earned their spot to compete at the Minnesota State tournament during the Kimball Super Mega VEX IQ Tournament hosted in Kimball MN.  The team qualified for the world championship by refining their robot and enhancing their autonomous skill along with having a strong performance with their driver’s skill, at the Minnesota State Championship in March.

The Kimball Super Mega VEX IQ Tournament Coordinator, and Cubmaster for Pack 3357 Mike Kunkel said, “I am proud of these boys at how hard they worked to get this far. They have truly pushed past obstacles and challenges showing their creativity and commitment. It has been a pleasure to watch them grow in the scouting program and show what they have learned.” The team really appreciated Mike's guidance and support as they worked hard to build a highly competitive robot.

The team's coach, Andrew Freeman, who is also a parent of one of the team members, said he is proud of the team's achievements and grateful for the support from the community. "The MicroBots have worked hard, learned a lot, and had fun along the way. They have shown great creativity, collaboration, and sportsmanship in every competition. They are excited to represent our community and our state at the world championship, and to meet and learn from other teams from around the world. We are thankful for the opportunity to participate in this amazing program.”

Northern Star Scouts Qualify for Vex IQ Robotics World Championship