Good Hope Middle School advances to South’s BEST Regional Robotics Championship

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Lillie McCluskey of Good Hope Middle School communicates with her teammate during the BEST Robotics competition at Tom Drake Coliseum.

HANCEVILLE – Spain Park High School won its second consecutive North Alabama BEST (Boosting Engineering, Science and Technology) Robotics competition at Wallace State Community College on Friday, earning the 2017 BEST Award.

Matching its total from last year, Spain Park took home trophies in nine categories. Along with the BEST Award, Spain Park was 2nd place in BEST game and first in the following competitions: BEST Simulink Design Award, BEST Robotics Team of Distinction, BEST Marketing Presentation, BEST Project Engineering Notebook, BEST Software Design and Simulation, BEST Spirit and Sportsmanship and BEST Mascot.

Marshall Technical School and Good Hope Middle School also made strong impressions in the competition and both will join Spain Park at the South’s BEST Regional Robotics Championship at Auburn University on Dec. 2-3.

Marshall Technical School finished second in the BEST Award category and captured top honors in the BEST Game action on Friday. Marshall Technical School, located in Guntersville, also earned trophies for the Founder’s Award, the Most Robust Machine and IGUS Top Gun Award.

Good Hope Middle School advances to Auburn for the fourth consecutive year after another earning third place in the BEST Award. Additionally, Good Hope Middle won top billing in BEST Team Exhibit and Interview, BEST T-shirt Design and the Blood, Sweat and Duct Tape Award.

“As is the case each year, there was a lot of talent at this competition and tons of enthusiasm and excitement. This event caps six-to-eight weeks of hard work for the students participating in BEST Robotics competition, and it’s exciting to see first-hand all of the work and dedication pay off,” said Wallace State’s Todd Hardman, the 2017 North Alabama BEST Director and Engineering Technology program chair. “We also continue to gain interest from other schools that attend and observe how the event unfolds.”

Rounding out the 2017 BEST field were Fairview High School, Good Hope High School, Homewood High School, Meek High School, Oneonta High School, S.A.L.T. Academy, Cullman Area Technical Academy, Cullman Middle School, Homewood Middle School and Oneonta Middle School.

The competition annually brings some of the more talented middle and high school students to the college. Teams have to focus on effectively operating their robots on the game floor amidst the pure energy and enthusiasm demonstrated within the walls at the coliseum. Teams also present marketing plans to a panel of judges prior to the event and set up booths on game day promoting their product.

During this year’s “Crossfire” competition, the schools were asked to submit a robot prototype to be evaluated alongside other prototypes in a state-of-the-art Industrial Fire Simulator. The robots were not able to touch the fire directly – in order to extinguish it, they needed to launch simulated water from a distance. The highest priority was rescuing a test manikin from inside. Just like in a real rescue, every second counted; robots received more points if they completed the rescue in less time. Points were given for rescuing the manikin, containing the chemical drums and extinguishing the flames.

The overall BEST Award won by Spain Park measures all aspects of the event.

Other BEST trophies were presented at the conclusion of the event. Fairview High was third place in the BEST Game competition and also had the BEST Pep Band.

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