The Mall Day events serve as a trial run for the teams as each team can sign up for multiple 20-minute practice slots to gauge how their robot will fare in the regional competition to be held at the SPEED Channel Dome at Talladega Superspeedway Saturday. Approximately 20 regional schools are anticipated to compete in the competition.
Each school received its robotics kit during the BEST Robotics kickoff, held Sept. 21 at Munford High School.
Officials from Central Alabama BEST gave the school’s robotics teams six weeks to build their robots used in the game featured in 2013’s regional and state robotics competition, Gatekeeper. The teams compete for points in the game based off a list of tasks required of their fully-functional robot.
The robotics kits contained plywood, pipes, nuts, bolts, wires and electronic components needed to construct a functional robot.
“I would say we’re about 75-percent completed (with our robot),” Winterboro High School science teacher and robotics team coach Brian Young said. “We’re hoping to be able to answer these issues with practice time during Mall Day. We still have a couple of significant design issues to overcome.”
According to Hub Director for Central Alabama BEST Brian Gann, each team is graded on a number of factors, including marketing presentations, team exhibits, engineering notebooks, spirit and sportsmanship.
Talladega County Central High School senior Trevontae Calhoun serves as lead mechanic and engineer for “T.C. Robo and Co.,” coached by TCCHS science teacher Reginald Jacobs.
“This is my second year competing,” Calhoun said. “We’re still in the learning process, so it’ll be good experience for us as we prepare for the regional competition. We plan to compete very well. (The practice) will give us extra time to perfect the robot. We’re new to this, but we’re still coming up with ideas. Every day, we have new people bringing (innovative) ideas to the table.”
Jacobs recognized his team doesn’t have as much experience as schools like Winterboro, who are competing for the third consecutive year, but he said he’s been impressed by his team’s efforts.
“My kids have done an exceptional job with the overall product,” Jacobs said. “We have spent ample time building a business and website, as well as creating our team shirts and business cards. We’ve done a great organizing the business aspect of the project. We’re worked hard on our engineering notebook, but we’re still finalizing the process of designing our robot.”
The winner of the regional competition advances to compete in the South’s Best competition, which will be held Dec. 6-7 at Auburn University.
Contact Shane Dunaway at email@example.com