Sporting Kansas City sponsors 48-hour innovation competition at UMKC for Missouri high school students


Sporting Kansas City sponsored a 48-hour competition this past weekend inside the innovation corridors of The University of Missouri-Kansas City, where seven teams from Project Lead The Way (PLTW) showcased their ingenuity for a 'Stadium Experience' themed challenge. In addition, the following three Sporting KC associates volunteered at the event along with a special appearance from the team's mascot:

  • Director of Community Impact Chioma Atanmo (judge)
  • Community Impact Manager Maigan Bridgette (mentor)
  • Senior Director of Communications Kurt Austin (mentor) 

Amidst fierce competition, one team emerged victorious to clinch the prestigious title along with a handsome reward of $2,000, a hand-crafted trophy and a coveted seat at Nationals this November. The triumphant team of four was the Innovation Hall Bears from Willow Springs High (pictured above), comprising Matthew Knapp, PLTW teacher and team captain, alongside Madalyn Poor, Nolan Perkins and Seth Wake. Their groundbreaking concept captivated the judges and secured them the top honor of Best Innovation.

The decision was a challenging one, with a distinguished panel of four judges presiding over the event. This panel featured leaders from PLTW, Sporting KC, New Reflections and The DeBruce Foundation. Recognizing excellence across various domains, the judges also awarded accolades for Best Agilites and a Best Pitch award.

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Tiger Innovations from Excelsior Springs High School, under the guidance of Tony Harman, PLTW teacher and team captain, clinched the Best Agilities award. Katelin Mansell, Caroline Wenz and Cameron Harris identified their Agilities prior to the competition, which allowed them to leverage their skills during the competition. 

[Redacted] from Columbia Area Career Center, led by Michael Merz, PLTW teacher and team captain, and students Camden Fallon, Aashish Gadicherla and Jacob Moore, impressed with the Best Pitch. The team communicated their idea to the judges flawlessly and compellingly. 

Throughout the intense competition, teams were tasked with conceiving a brand-new idea, crafting a physical prototype with the assistance of the Tool Techs, and presenting their innovation through a one-minute marketing video and a concise Sales Sheet. The adrenaline-fueled journey of these young innovators was captured on film, set to be showcased in the upcoming eighth season of Make48. Stay tuned for the release of two episodes on This Old House Makers Channel (Roku) later this year.