The Cigarroa High School and the Sabas Perez Early College High School Xtreme Robotics Club continued to make history by making it to the UIL State Tournament with Team 8284 Soap Dispenser qualifying for the FTC State Championship for the third consecutive year. For the second time in three years the team won the UIL FTC Texas State UIL Robotics Championship in the 5A Division at the Texas State UIL Robotics Competition.

The Soap Dispenser Robotics team reclaimed their state championship title after falling short in 2023, placing 2nd place in the State Championship. In 2022 the Soap Dispenser Robotics team was named the 5A UIL State Championship.

This year the team went head-to-head with some of the biggest schools from across the state of Texas and did a tremendous job in representing their school, coaches, and families. The Soap Dispenser team were the FTC Laredo League City champions. They made the finals in the Area Championships and were able to advance to the state championship. 

At the state competition, the CHS Soap Dispenser team along with the best of the best First Tech Challenge (FTC) Robots from across Texas gathered for the competition. They competed against the state’s top teams in the 5A and 6A division.

During the preliminary rounds, the CHS Soap Dispenser team was clicking and went undefeated through five matches. The team ranked first in the preliminary rounds and advanced to the semifinals as captains and were able to choose an Alliance partner who were the Robo Lobo team from Cedar Park High School.

In the semifinals the teams won their matches and advanced to the state finals. In the finals they didn’t lose any matches and the CHS and CPHS Alliance came out on top bringing CHS its second UIL State Robotics Championship in the last three years.    

The team is led by coach/mentor Amanda De Hoyos who is one of the few female mentors in the entire state and assistant coach Raymundo De Hoyos. Team 8284 is comprised of Jorge Vasquez, Danya Ibarra, Cristian Luna, Mariah Rossel, Nathan Soriano, Keyla De Leon, Briana Morales, and Ariel Caballero.

The Soap Dispenser team used their prior experiences at the state finals to polish their strategizing, speaking, and communications skills.

“We wanted to get bigger and better. So, this year those two experiences really helped us gain a lot of wisdom from our mentors, other teams, and referees on how to better ourselves and our team,” Cigarroa High School junior and Extreme Robotics Club President Danya Ibarra. “We were able to improve ourselves and our robot for this year’s competition and were able to come out undefeated and the best of the best at the state finals.

According to De Hoyos the future is still bright for Team 8284 Soap Dispenser. Winning the state championship and advancing to the world competition would be the best senior year for the kids.

“All of the members are juniors and still have one year left. The kids have been together for almost three years already and we've seen them grow and become young adults,” said De Hoyos. “I do want to win back-to-back state championship with them, but we do want to go to Worlds. That’s the goal the World Competition. That's the one that they really want to crack into. Getting to that world stage, that's the next step and they know they can do it.”

“Cigarroa High School is beyond proud of the Xtreme Robotics Club Soap Dispenser team who worked tirelessly day after day to perfect their robot and win the UIL State Championship,” said Raymundo and Amanda De Hoyos CHS Robotics Sponsors. “They stayed long hours and their hard work came to fruition. It was not just about making it to the State Tournament, it was about going and achieving their goal and bringing back UIL State Championship to Cigarroa High School.” 

Prior to the State Championship, the Xtreme Robotics Club competed in the First Tech Challenge at the South Texas Area Championship. A total of three teams represented CHS at the Area Championship. All three teams fiercely competed and ended up in the semifinals of the competition.

 Team 4848 Chaos comprised of Diego Marines, Gadi Francisco, Bryan Sandoval, Armin Vanlor and Ruben Ramirez, got a South Texas high score of 234. Team 6892 comprised of Dulce Calleja, Angel Carillo, Edgar Orozco, and Bryan Moncivais ended up winning 4 out their 5 qualifying matches and also competing in the semifinals. Team 8284 made it all the way to finals.

Congratulations to all teams on their hard work and achievements,” said Sabas Perez Early College High School Director Dr. Rocio Lopez. “Each of these three teams did an amazing job representing both Cigarroa High School and Sabas Perez Early College High School, their community and coaches.”

“Our two coaches have taken this Soap Dispenser team and they have gone leaps and bounds. They came together as a unit and as a wonderful cohesive team,” said Dr. Rocio Lopez. “As freshman they brought home the state championship. As sophomores they came back in second place and this year they came back as champions once again.  The standard and tradition at CHS and SPECHS have been set by this young group.”

“Our whole focus at SPECHS is STEM, (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics. So, they are literally bringing it to the forefront,” said Dr. Lopez. “They are putting SPECHS on the map in Laredo. We have other students from other campuses wanting to come to SEECHS because of our Robotics Program.”