Local schools compete in robotics

Published 6:17 pm Saturday, December 9, 2017

The Selma BEST hub took four schools to the regional robotics championship at Auburn University on Dec. 2 to compete against more than 60 teams from 16 different hubs across five states.

Martin Middle School, Morgan Academy and Billingsley High School qualified for the regional championship at Wallace Community College Selma this past November. Meadowview Christian School also traveled to Auburn and competed against 16 other schools to play into the regional championship.

Selma BEST hub director Johnny Moss attended as a judge, and he saw the vast amount of competition the Selma teams had to go up against.

“You have the best teams from all over the south,” he said. “We feel that we’re getting better year after year, and as our teams gain more experience they’re going to be able to compete with those other teams.”

The championship in Auburn had the same setup as the “Crossfire” task challenge at WCCS. The schools were judged on their presentations, exhibit booths, school spirit and the success of their robot in the fire rescue simulation.

In the simulation, the drivers had to maneuver their robot to safely remove Manny the mannequin, pick-up hazardous waste and move it to the safe zone and also extinguish the “fire” by firing plastic golf balls to knock down the plastic cups representing the flames on the structure.

Martin Middle School finished in the tournament ranked No. 21 out of 63 Teams. They also won second place in the Hyundai Team Exhibit Design and Construction Award for their booth display.

“Martin is probably our most experienced hub,” Moss said. “They’ve been competing for six years, and they continue to get better as the years go on.”

Gaylen Denson, who is the Martin Middle robotics sponsor, and his team were confident going into the competition.

The 64-member Martin team named their robot “The Extinguisher.”

The team made it all the way to the final run before they were knocked out of the playoffs.

“They had such a good time getting to hang with their friends and team members for two whole days,” Denson said. “We had tremendous support as well. We took over 50 kids with us.”

Billingsley was ranked No. 41 and Morgan was No. 46. Meadowview participated in the play-in round, but did not advance to the championship round.

“Teams that continue to work hard and build on momentum tend to fare better year after year,” Moss said.