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Austin High School robotics team member Tiffany Alvis guides the team's robot onto the platform at the Tennessee Valley Boosting Engineer-ing, Science and Technology robotics competition at Calhoun Community College on Saturday.
Daily photo by Brennen Smith
Austin High School robotics team member Tiffany Alvis guides the team's robot onto the platform at the Tennessee Valley Boosting Engineer-ing, Science and Technology robotics competition at Calhoun Community College on Saturday.

Austin, Priceville win BEST competition at Calhoun

By Bayne Hughes
hughes@decaturdaily.com · 340-2432

Go for the gas. Teams that used this strategy scored high in the Tennessee Valley Boosting Engineering, Science and Technology robotics competition at Calhoun Community College.

Austin won the robotics competition. The New Century, Lee and Columbia team of Huntsville finished second.

Priceville High was third in the robotics competition, but won the BEST competition with Hoover High finishing second. The four teams advance to the South BEST Regional competition Dec. 6-8 at Auburn University.

The South Best is a familiar place for Austin and Priceville, which annually dominated the Tennessee Valley BEST. Junior Reid Harris, chief executive officer for Austin's robotics team, said dedication has been the key to the two teams' successes. He also credited Austin sponsor Susan Haddock for keeping his team on task.

"We both meet consistently every night (in the five weeks they have prior to the competition)," Harris said. "We work hard to be successful, and it shows."

Harris said there's a friendly rivalry between Austin and Priceville, and it pushes both teams to do well.

The competition places the students in the year 2021 at a time when a Martian base exists. The base is ready to receive supplies before the arrival of the astronauts.

Students from 18 North Alabama schools, which also included Decatur High School and Athens Bible School, built robots to unload an automated supply vehicle and deliver the supplies to the Martian base.

The robots had three minutes to exit the base, drive across the Martian surface,
drive up onto the supply vehicle, load supplies and then deliver the supplies to the base. The teams get 40 points for each fuel bottle delivered and five, 15 or 25 points for each box of supplies delivered.

Harris said the four teams reached the finals focused on the fuel bottles, which look like small milk bottles. Austin and NCLC were the only teams to score 280 points in a single round.

"The finals were pretty intense because everyone was going for the bottles," Harris said.

Harris said his team tried to get as many points as possible early and then block the opposition as much as allowed within the rules.

In the BEST competition, the students had to record their concepts and strategy sessions, their schematics, and the building process in an engineering notebook. They had to build a display, promote their team and the competition and show school spirit.

Priceville, which won the South BEST last year, won the awards for table display design and construction, oral presentation, table display and interview and sportsmanship.

BEST awards

Award winners at the Tennessee Valley Boosting Engineering, Science and Technology competition held Saturday at Calhoun Community College:

Best T-shirt design: first: Albertville High School; second: Oak Mountain High School; third: Hoover High School.

Best Web Page Design: first: Priceville High School; second: Albertville;·third: Oak Mountain.

Most Photogenic Robot: first: Albertville; second: Hoover;
third: Decatur High School;

Most Robust Robot: first: Austin High School; second: NCLC; third: Priceville High School.

Most Elegant Robot: first: NCLC; second: Hoover; third: Austin.

Founders Award for Creative Design: first: Priceville; second: Hoover High School; third: NCLC.

Igus Top Gun Award (the team that scored the most points in a single round): A tie: NCLC and Austin; each scored 280 points in a single round.

Solid Works CAD (computer aided design) Design Award: Riverside Christian Academy.

Table Display Design and Construction Award: Priceville.

Blood, Sweat and Duct Tape Award: Gadsden City High School.

Best Oral Presentation Award: Priceville.

Best Table Display and Interview Award: Priceville.

Best Project Engineering Notebook Award: Albertville.

Best Spirit and Sportsmanship Award: Priceville.

Bayne Hughes

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