Martin Middle competes at state robotics

Published 9:24 am Saturday, December 10, 2016

The Martin Middle School robotics team made it to the regional competition in Auburn for the third straight year and placed 21st out of 58 teams, and third out of all the middle schools.

“We just have a really good group this year. They get along so well and they work together so well,” said Gaylen Denson, robotics instructor at Martin Middle. “This group has done a really good job. They’ve worked hard, they’ve stayed on task.”

The 51 students on the team won first place in the robot portion and second in the overall at the Selma BEST Robotics competition in November, sending them to Auburn.

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The students competed against middle and high school across five states, and although they didn’t go home with a trophy, Denson said he is still extremely proud of his team.

“I’m so proud of my kids,” Denson said. “This is a very special group in how well they work together as a team and work towards a common goal.”

Denson said his students did a great job during the two-day competition competing with schools from all over.

“Our kids held their own against some amazing schools, including some amazing magnet schools from the other states,” Denson said. “As with the last two years, we were one good run of the robot away from being in the semifinals.”

Denson said the competition is intense, and he isn’t even allowed near the robot or allowed to give advice about fixing it if a problem were to arise.

“For the two days our kids have to handle the competition by themselves,” Denson said. “I could not assist them in the booth or presentation and especially not with the robot. In the pit area, our group had to set up the robot table, run and make adjustments by themselves and even packed up everything by themselves in the pit.”

Denson said he always has a great group of kids at Martin Middle, and this group was just as special.

“You can’t ask for a better group to get along and work together like they do,” Denson said. “They have a lot of fun getting to compete and then competing against the caliber teams that’s there, really drives them to want to do more and continue to be in robotics.”

Denson said he was not only proud of the team, but of their parents and the community that supports them.

“I was very proud of our backing that we received from our parents and community. We had probably close to 100 individuals that traveled with us that supported us,” Denson said. “So we had a strong following.”

Selma High School also made it to the regional competition in Auburn.