CEC Robotics team competes in southeastern BEST Robotics competition


The Central Educational Center’s TriBot’s BEST Robotics Team competed at the South’s BEST Robotics Regional competition, held Dec. 2 and 3 at Auburn University in Auburn, Alabama.  

CEC robotics team members earned their spot at the regional competition by placing 2nd at the Georgia BEST Robotics competition in late October. The regional competition held in Auburn included 50 teams from 13 hubs in 7 southeastern states, according to Coweta County School System spokesman Dean Jackson.  

Jackson said the CEC team participated in 8 seeding matches at the Auburn regional competition, where they scored a combined 950 points to finished 26th overall.

The three other teams from Georgia included the Fernbank Science Center, North Forsyth High School, and Grady, who finished 6th, 39th and 46th respectively. Overall the top four robot teams in the competition were from Seaside Neighborhood School in Pensacola, Florida, W.P. Davidson High School in Mobile, Alabama, the Decatur Austin Robotics Coalition from Decatur, Alabama, and the Central Magnet School in Nashville, Tennessee.

Jackson said this year’s challenge was called “BUGS,” with the premise that a group of genetically enhanced bugs (termites, cockroaches and flies) had escaped from a nearby genetic research lab and were holed-up in a nearby construction site. It was the teams’ job to build and operate a robot to retrieve the bugs unharmed. The construction site was full of hazards including stacks of PVC pipes to scrap lumber, which blocked the path to where the captured bugs had to be placed.

“The approach our CEC team took was that of a frog. They built an arm that could extend out over the obstacles and deposit the captured bugs into the containment area, therefore being able to place the captured bugs in the highest value containment area,” said engineering and robotics teacher Scott Brown. “Their only bad round was when a motor relay burned out just as a match was beginning. Other than that, the on-field team, which consisted of a driver and spotter, scored in each round, twice nabbing three objects and scoring them in the hard containment area during the three-minute match,” said Brown.

Although the entire BEST Robotics team was very large (25 members), only the robot team advanced to the regional competition and was invited to participate at his event. The entire team was involved in the competition, including a booth team, marketing presentation team, webpage team, t-shirt design team, and spirit team which included the CEC robotics mascots, Jackson said. 

The robot team members included team captain Jesse Stearns, Scott Bissantz and Mike Stowers from Northgate High School; Justin Jennings and Mitch Busby from Newnan High School; and Sara Pierson from East Coweta High School.

More information about the Dec. 2 BEST competition can be found at www.southsbest.org.

CEC’s “TriBots” robotics teams are made up of 4 individual teams – including the teams 95, 95S, 95T and 95W.  Each team consists of 3 to 4 team members from Coweta’s three base high schools. Members of team 95T competed in the BEST competition Dec. 2 and 3.

All four teams  competed against 49 other teams in their first VEX Robotics competition of the 2011-12 season on Nov. 19 at Peachtree Ridge High School in Suwanee.

In Suwanee, team 95S – comprised of Newnan’s David Murphy, Northgate’s Cordell Kadlick and East Coweta’s Mike Sessions – completed in 1st place with a record of 6 – 0 – 1. It was the first competition for two of the three 95S team members – only David Murphy had competed once before, as an 8th grader at Smokey Road Middle School. Murphy was actually on the Smokey Road team that qualified and competed at the VEX Robotics World Championships at Disney’s ESPN Sports Center in Orlando, FL spring of 2011. 

Team 95T – made up of Newnan’s Justin Jennings and Mitchell Busby along with Northgate’s Mike Stowers – finished the qualifying rounds in 16th place. Team 95 – finished the qualifying rounds in 20th place. Team 95W – made up of East Coweta’s Brad Jenkins and Newnan’s Casey Tillery and Rebecca Onley – finished the qualifying rounds in 48th place.

At the same time that Team 95 T competed in the BEST competition, CEC TriBots Teams 95, 95S and 95W competed at CEC on Dec. 3, when the Coweta charter school hosted their own “VEX” robotics competition.