Robotics teams compete at regional level

Roscoe Collegiate High School and Sweetwater High School competed this past weekend in the BEST robotics regional competition in the Dallas. Event sponsor was the University of Texas at Dallas. Approximately 1,500 students from 56 teams across Texas and New Mexico came to compete in presentations, exhibits, spirit and sportsmanship, engineering notebooks and robot performance. Both teams represented the area very well with Sweetwater finishing 21 of 56 and Roscoe finishing at 32. Members of the TSTC BEST Steering Committee mentors from Ludlum Measurements, teacher/coaches, family friends and community supporters were also in attendance. While at the competition, Richard Smola of Ludlums Measurements received the VIP treatment. He was given a full tour and explanation of the competition and was a special guest at the VIP luncheon. Mr. Smola was particularly excited about being invited to watch the competition from on the playing field. The atmosphere was exciting with schools bringing bands, cheerleaders and mascots. Roscoe won the BEST award at the Big Country hub competition and Sweetwater won the robotic performance. These wins qualified them to advance to the Regional competition.For the Big Country Hub, nine high schools were given a variety of supplies and materials consisting of wood, metal, aluminum, nuts, bolts, rubber bands, bicycle tubes, PVC pipe and fittings, etc. From that beginning, each team was charged with building a robot that would both move around the field and perform certain tasks, in order to score points. These teams came to compete in Sweetwater Oct. 22, to determine the Hub champions.Members of the Sweetwater team were coached by Darrin Shrontz and Shana Hrbacek and mentored by Jamie Witt. Roscoe team members were coached by Dan Boren and mentored by Shane Martin. 2011 was the initial year for participation by the Big Country Hub. Host of the district event was Texas State Technical College-West Texas. Leadership and planning for the event came from the local BEST Steering Committee, all employees of TSTC. The event was made possible by the generous donations of approximately 50 sponsors.Nine teams completed the difficult process of producing a working robot and attending the competition in Sweetwater. Those teams were: Abilene ATEMS, Clyde High School, Comanche High School, Eastland High School, Gustine High School, Rising Star High School, Roscoe Collegiate, Snyder High School and Sweetwater High School.Big Country Hub Steering Committee members state that they were very impressed with the creativity and caliber of students and schools who participated. A special source of pride was having such great examples of leadership and sportsmanship demonstrated by all of the students who came together to compete. Committee members are excited to announce that plans are already underway for the 2012 competition and are hoping that the local hub will grow to represent 12 teams next year.