Green Forest Robotics team among the best in U.S.

Monday, November 8, 2004
BEST Robotics team members who garnered top wins and awards in Fayetteville and the chance to compete in regional action include: (from left) first row ---- Adam Plagge, Bethani Shields, David Norris, Ashley Hutchins, AJ Buckner, Justin Brundage, Kira Palmer, Neil McCutcheon, Arlene Jakubec, Terri Parton, Tasha Henson; and, second row ---- Coach Fred Pike, Luis Valerio, La Rae Jones, Joe McCormick, Becky Peden, Frank Berlanga, James Thomas, Alysa Russell, Jennifer Ayers, Tori Allen, Bobby Peden and Andrew Davis. CCN / Anna Mathews

GREEN FOREST ----Members of the Green Forest BEST (Boosting Engineering, Science and Technology) Robotics teams will be traveling to Dallas, Texas, to compete in the BEST Regional Championship at Southern Methodist University's Moody Coliseum November 12-13.

The teams earned the right to advance to regional action after capturing wins at the Northwest Arkansas BEST Robotics HUB competition in Fayetteville on Oct. 30.

Competing against 23 other teams from schools such as Rogers, Springdale and Fayetteville, the Green Forest teams captured top wins, including: first place in the field competition; first in the BEST competition; the BEST fever award for most points scored in a round, the C-Spin overall performance award, and the most Robust Robot award.

"They've been working hard," said team coach Fred Pike. "Their hard work paid off. The kids have been cooperative and receptive."

Besides competing and preparing for regional action, team members have been hosting demonstrations to spread the word about BEST.

They appeared at the Green Forest Elementary School on Wednesday morning and presented a second demonstration at the Alpena School later that day.

Pike said the team robot is named Genobat, to go along with the DNA scenario required for this BEST competition.

The Green Forest School has been a leader in BEST competitions under the leadership of Pike.

BEST is a non-profit, volunteer organization whose mission is to inspire students to pursue careers in engineering, science, and technology through participation in a sports-like, science- and engineering-based robotics competition.

Each team designs and builds a radio-controlled machine to accomplish defined tasks in a game-type format.

Six weeks before the competition, the teams gather for Kick Off Day in early September at local hub sites where they receive identical kits of equipment (motors, remote control unit, batteries, etc.) and raw materials from which to build their machines, and a detailed set of game rules.

The machines they build cannot weigh more than 24 pounds, must fit within a 24-inch cube, and must be built only from the raw materials supplied to them by the local hub.

Industry and academic coaches, such as Pike, act as mentors for the students, encouraging and guiding them as they design and build their robots. In the BEST process, students remain the primary decision-makers and builders.

The Texas BEST competition that they will be traveling to is one of two regional play-off events for BEST Robotics Inc. (BRI) that concludes an annual fall student team robotics design challenge.

Sponsored by Texas Instruments, SMU School of Engineering, Boeing, and Raytheon, Texas BEST is a two-day championship for 60 pre-college student teams advancing from local (BEST) competitions in Texas and several other states west of the Mississippi River.

These top-placing middle school and high school teams meet on the SMU campus to match their remote-controlled robotic machines in a game of strategy, speed, and skill ---- and the right to earn top honors in a Best-of-the-BEST showdown.

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