Santa Cruz County Robotics Teams Make Waves at MATE ROV Regional Competition! Team goes on to World Champions in Tennessee

Watsonville, CA (May 10, 2024) – The future of ocean exploration is bright in Santa Cruz County! On May 4th, at Watsonville High School, ten teams from across the county participated in the MATE ROV (Marine Advanced Technology Education – Remotely Operated Vehicle) Regional Competition, showcasing their creativity and engineering skills in a challenging underwater robotics competition. The program aims to build student skills in entrepreneurship, team work, collaboration, as well as technical skills in robotics, computer programming, and design, engineering, and fabrication. 

The Santa Cruz County Office of Education (Santa Cruz COE) X Academy Robotics Clubs were a force to be reckoned with, with both teams achieving impressive results. Our Hephaestus Robotics team secured a remarkable 3rd place finish in the Ranger Class. This achievement earns them a coveted spot at the MATE ROV World Championship in Kingsport Tennessee at the end of June, where they will compete against 40 of the top teams from around the world. Our Angry Otters team in the Navigator class demonstrated exceptional skill by taking 2nd place in their division.

10 Santa Cruz County Teams Compete – Several Middle Schools Involved

Students from the 10 teams across the county who participated in the competition were from the following schools: Aptos High and Junior High Schools, Alternative Family Education, Branciforte Middle School, Ceiba College Preparatory Academy, Diamond Technology Institute, Kirby High School, Pacific Collegiate School, Pajaro Valley High School, San Lorenzo Valley High School, Santa Cruz High School, Sapphire Valley School, Scotts Valley High School, Sequoia High School, Soquel High School, St. Francis High School, and Watsonville High School. The MATE-ROV competition showcased young minds in the Monterey Bay region putting their problem-solving abilities and technological know-how to the test, designing and building Remotely Operated Vehicles (ROVs) to complete a series of underwater tasks.

“We are incredibly proud of the dedication and hard work of all the students who participated in the MATE-ROV Competition,” said Dr. Faris Sabbah, County Superintendent of Schools. “This competition is a fantastic opportunity for students to develop valuable STEM skills, teamwork, and critical thinking.”

The Santa Cruz COE X Academy Robotics club had meetings in both Santa Cruz and Watsonville, engaging over 40 students in this inaugural cross-county collaborative. The Santa Cruz COE and X Academy Robotics Clubs would like to thank all the participating schools, mentors, volunteers, and sponsors who made this event a success. We are excited to cheer on the Hephaestus Robotics team as they compete at the International level in June!

“We look forward to this continued partnership to expand the skills of students from upper elementary through high school and beyond as we expand our clubs and school support next year,” says Tim Sylvester, X Academy Executive Director.

The MATE-ROV Competition fosters technical skills and encourages teamwork, creativity, and a commitment to ocean science. These young robotics enthusiasts are shaping the future of marine exploration and sustainable development.

For more information about the Santa Cruz County Office of Education X Academy Robotics Clubs, visit here: . Stay tuned for updates as our teams prepare for the International Competition in June!


About the Mate ROV Competition: The Mate ROV Competition challenges students to design, build, and test underwater robots to complete simulated real-world missions based on the United Nations Decade of Ocean Science for Sustainable Development goals. Teams compete in various activities, including product demonstration, engineering presentation, technical documentation, corporate responsibility, safety, marketing display, and company spec sheet.

About the Santa Cruz County Office of Education X Academy Robotics Clubs: The X Academy hosts robotics clubs in Watsonville and Santa Cruz, partnering with the Santa Cruz County Office of Education to provide high school students with hands-on learning experiences in electronics, design, programming, and more. These clubs prepare students for competitions like the Mate ROV Regional Competition, fostering a passion for STEM and innovation.