Seven teams battled it out for the Best Overall and Best Robot Performance during the BEST Robotic competition held Saturday, Oct. 20 in Northark’sPioneer Pavilion.

What began as 11 teams on kickoff day, held Saturday, Sept. 8, was shortened to only seven teams remaining for the competition. John Levy, teacher of engineering technology at Northark, described it as the “perfect storm.” It was a combination of a tough playing field and not enough team members, he said. Some teams realized they didn’t have the man power to return after the kick off event. Teams were also down this year due to loss of sponsorship and graduating team members. This year was like the end of a cycle. A new cycle begins with present team members advancing, new members joining their school robotics program and new sponsors coming aboard.

During the “Current Events” themed competition, teams fought the high seas to rid the oceans of plastic waste, which in real life, clutters the Earth’s oceans today.

For the competition, robots had to perform recycling maneuvers, balancing along a non-stationary beam as they reached out to the different simulated ocean gyres to capture trash in the ocean.

The competition was more than just a robotics tournament. Schools formed teams and functioned as small companies which came in and promoted their product through presentations, mascots, T-shirts, web design, booths and exhibits. All aspects of their promotions and projects were also documented through a notebook category. Teams were scored on all aspects of the tournament with 16 winners chosen in their respective category.

“There is no other activity that brings in the diversity of student skills than BEST Robotics does,” said Scott Howie during this year’s September kickoff. Howie is Northark’s Technical Center and BEST Robotics competition director.

Four of the seven teams which participated the Oct. 20 competition will be going to regionals in late fall. Those teams include: in order of winning, Benton County, Missouri, Calico Rock, Berryville and Jasper.

Northark has hosted the BEST Robotics competition since 2006 and has become a hub, drawing teams from local, outlying and Missouri schools.

Winners in this year’s competition included:  

Calico Rock, first place
Benton County, Missouri, second place

Neosho, Missouri, fourth place

Benton County, Missouri, first place

• Benton County, Missouri — Most Photogenic Machine, Best Notebook, Best presentation, Founder Award for Creative Design and Spirit award

• Jasper — Most Elegant Machine, Best Rookie Team and Best Mascot

• Valley Springs — Best Team Web Design

• Neosho, Missouri — Outstanding T-shirt Design
• Berryville — Blood, Sweat and Duct Tape Award and Most Robust Machine

• Lincoln, Missouri — Best Small School Team

• Calico Rock — Team Exhibit

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