Robotics teams compete at regional competition


R4 Robotics Home School from Rio Rancho took First Place in BEST Award at the Texas BEST Regional Competition. (NMSU photo by Linda Fresques)

Writer: Kristen Sullivan

Six teams from across New Mexico and Cave Creek, Arizona traveled to the University of Dallas in Garland, Texas, to compete in the Texas BEST Regional Competition, Nov. 14-15.

This year’s competition challenged students to design and build a robot that could traverse rough dirt roads in order to construct a wind turbine in a remote location.  Students had to simulate the relocation of the endangered prairie chicken on the planned site before construction could begin.  Each team was judged for their robot’s performance in the game, their ability to prepare and maintain a technical engineering notebook, development of a website, and creation of a presentation to market their robot to potential customers.

Teams advanced to regionals after placing the top seven in the New Mexico BEST Competition, which was held at New Mexico State University, Oct. 18. The teams that advanced from the NM BEST competition were R4 Robotics of Rio Rancho, NM, Cave Creek Robotics of Cave Creek, AZ, Deming High School of Deming, NM, White Sands Middle School of White Sands, NM, Chaparral Middle School of Chaparral, NM and Hatch Valley High School of Hatch, NM.

Of the six teams that participated in the regional competition, two teams placed in six different categories:

  • First Place in BEST Award (Overall Winner) – R4 Robotics Home School
  • First Place in Web Page Design – R4 Robotics Home School
  • Exhibit and Interview – R4 Home School
  • Project Engineering Notebook – R4 Home School
  • Second Place in Most Elegant – Cave Creek Robotics
  • First Place in Founder’s Award for Most Creative Design – Cave Creek Robotics

“It takes a lot of hard work and dedication to advance from the local competition of BEST Robotics and even more to place among all the schools competing at a regional level,” Tracey O’Neil, program manager for the NMSU College of Engineering, said. “We are extremely proud of the six teams that advanced from NM BEST – they performed well and served as outstanding representatives for the NM BEST hub. We congratulate them on a job well done and look forward to seeing them next year.”

R4 Robotics Home School, Cave Creek Robotics and Deming High School advanced to the Semi-final Round for the regional competition, out of 60 teams.

BEST, which stands for Boosting Engineering, Science and Technology, is an annual competition that offers middle- and high-school students an opportunity to work in a situation where they are confronted with the same challenges and breakthroughs encountered by industry engineering teams. The BEST mission is to inspire participating students to pursue careers in engineering, science, technology and math.

Each year, teams are given a specific task and identical kits of parts to construct a robot that will complete a task. They then have six weeks to design, build and test a robot that will outperform its competitors.  There is no cost for schools to compete in NM BEST.

The College of Engineering at New Mexico State University has encouraged thousands of students to pursue higher education in science, technology, engineering and math through the NM BEST Robotics Competition since 2001.


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