The competition was fierce on Saturday at the annual Golden Plains BEST (Promoting Engineering, Science and Technology) robotics challenge held at Northeastern Junior College. In the end, the Sydney High School team and the Bates District School team came out on top.
This year, seven teams competed for first place in the competition including: Peetz School District Boys and Girls Teams, Haxtun High School, Holyoke Jr./Sr. High School, Julesberg High School, Yuma High School and Sydney High School.
BEST Robotics is a national organization, facing local and regional challenges across the United States. The purpose of the Robotics Challenge is to excite and inspire students to pursue careers in STEM fields while developing the professional skills of tomorrow’s technical leaders. All equipment and materials are provided free of charge to schools, at no cost.
This year’s theme, Made 2 Order, centered around the order fulfillment and distribution industry, and challenged teams to create a bot to use in an order fulfillment center. The robot had to be able to collect items to fulfill orders, move chests to appropriate locations and act as a collaborative robot, or “kobot,” by controlling an fulfillment center robot called Squeaky.
The Golden Plains Robotics Challenge was led by Center Director Larry Turner. He thanked all who participated in the competition during a challenging year. Turner shared that due to inflation, the cost of building stadiums this year was so great that instead of building each of the best hubs in their own separate field, three of the area centers including Golden Plains decided to merge together to build one field for all three. to use.
Speaking of costs, Turner also sadly informed players, coaches and families that this could be the last year for the Golden Plains hub Challenge. The center hopes to receive a grant from El Pomar for next year, but if they cannot secure sufficient funding they cannot continue.
During the competition, two teams competed in several three-minute matches, striving to complete as many tasks as possible in a short amount of time. Between rounds, you can find teams that work quickly to make repairs to their robot or make modifications to it to help it run better. It wasn’t uncommon to see one team helping another, so each team could put in their best performance and support each other when one of the two teams put in an excellent performance during the match.
After a full morning of competition, Sydney took first place, followed by Golsberg, the Bett boys, Holyoke, Huxton, the Beetz girls and Yuma.
Since there were fewer teams this year, there was no wildcard match, so all teams advanced to the semi-finals in the afternoon. For this part of the competition, the points scored in the morning competition were not counted, instead all teams started without points.
After 12 matches, the four teams with the most points to qualify for the finals were Sydney, Yuma, Julesberg and the Betz boy team. While announcing who would advance, Turner commended all the teams for how well they performed, commenting that the semi-finals were so fiercely contested that each round there were teams tied or just two points away from each other.
In the finals, all teams started again with zero points and after six rounds, Sydney came out the winner with 205 points. Betz finished second with 160 points, just five points behind Julesburg in third, and came in fourth all day. .
Sydney and Betz will now move on to compete in the regional competition on December 3 and 4 at the Colorado School of Mines. If those teams can’t go, Julesberg and Yuma can fill up.
Several special prizes were also awarded at the end of the competition. The Spirit of Sportsmanship award went to the Bates teams. The Strongest Robot award, which goes to the robot with the fewest problems during competition, was awarded to Holyoke; The founders’ award, given to a robot capable of completing each required task, went to Sydney.
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