Two teams walked away with top honors in this year’s Frontier Trails BEST Regional Robotics Competition, sponsored by the University of Arkansas at Fort Smith and the City of Fort Smith.
Wichita Homeschool of Wichita, Kan., was awarded first place BEST Award and Ambassadors for Christ Academy of Bentonville won first place as Robot Game Winner. Competitions under the BEST heading — which stands for Boosting Engineering, Science and Technology — are held across the nation, with UAFS involved in two levels, the River Valley BEST competition and the next level, the Frontier Trails BEST event.
Thirty-eight teams represented nine local hub competitions at the event that took place Dec. 9-10. Each team designed and operated its own robot with a kit supplied for the task, using this year’s theme, Bugs. The theme was based on the accidental release of genetically engineered insects into the environment.
“The Robot competition featured some very unique and highly effective designs that kept everyone at the edge of their seats all day,” said John Martini of Fort Smith, assistant professor at the University and director of the competition. “The final tally was not that far apart. This was by far the most exciting competition we have experienced in the six years of Frontier Trails BEST.”
In addition to the top-level BEST Award at the Frontier Trails event, which is given to the top overall team which embodies the concept of BEST, Wichita Homeschool also took second place in the Robot Competition and received awards in three other categories – BEST Project Engineering Notebook and BEST Spirit and Sportsmanship, as well as first place Founders Award.
Ambassadors for Christ Academy which earned first place in the Robot competition also received third place as Most Elegant.
Martini said the award applauded the competition participants.
“The judges made a number of positive comments on the professionalism of the students in Marketing Presentations, Engineering Notebooks and Exhibits,” Martini said, “and, of course, the Spirit and Sportsmanship category was off the charts. The crowd participation and enthusiasm was pegging out the sound meter all day long.”
Martini said the hard work and dedication of volunteers, judges, referees and scorekeepers made for a smooth and amazing good time.
“To top it all off, we had a new treat with our on-campus folks video streaming the robot games nationally with over 400 people watching.” Martini said. “All in all, this year’s Frontier Trails BEST was truly the BEST of the BEST.”
Additional winners included:
BEST Award: Metro Homeschool of Blue Springs, Mo., second place; and Circle High School of Towanda, Kan., third place.
Robot Competition: Circle High School of Towanda, Kan., third place; and Arkansas School for Mathematics, Sciences and the Arts of Hot Springs, fourth place.
BEST Marketing Presentation: Circle High School of Towanda, Kan.
BEST Team Exhibit: Metro Homeschool of Blue Springs, Mo.
igus Top Gun Award: Arkansas School for Mathematics, Sciences and the Arts of Hot Springs.
Founders Award: Circle High School of Towanda, Kan., second place; and Buffalo Island Central of Leachville, third place.
Most Robust: Lone Star/Otis High School, Otis, Colo., first place; Rose Hill High School of Rose Hill, Kan., second place; and Perry Jr. High and High School of Perry, Okla., third place.
Most Elegant: Arkansas School for Mathematics, Sciences and the Arts of Hot Springs, first place; and Hillcrest High School of Strawberry, second place.
Most Photogenic: Rose Hill High School of Rose Hill, Kan., first place; Fairview High School of Fairview, Okla., second place; and Buffalo Island Central of Leachville, third place.
T-Shirt Award: Hillcrest High School of Strawberry, first place; OKC Homeschool of Edmond Okla., second place; and Gans/Muldrow Public Schools of Gans and Muldrow, third place.
Web Page Award: OKC Homeschool of Edmond, Okla., first place; Metro Homeschool of Blue Springs, Mo., second place; and Waldron Middle School of Waldron, third place.