Robotics team fares well at regional competition

Published 4:00 pm Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Jospeh Barnes, a member of the Demopolis Advanced Robotics Team, shares what sets the team’s robot apart during a demonstration Tuesday morning at Demopolis Middle School. The team claimed a 27th place finish at the South’s BEST Regional Robotics Championship at Auburn University Dec. 5-7.

Jospeh Barnes, a member of the Demopolis Advanced Robotics Team, shares what sets the team’s robot apart during a demonstration Tuesday morning at Demopolis Middle School. The team claimed a 27th place finish at the South’s BEST Regional Robotics Championship at Auburn University Dec. 5-7.

The Demopolis Advanced Robotics Team is on the rise.

The team, better known as D.A.R.T., claimed a 27th place finish at the South’s BEST Regional Robotics Championship in only its second year of existence. The team finished 31st at last year’s competition.

BEST Robotics includes two elements. The first is a robot competition, in which teams attempt to score as many points as possible in head-to-head competition.

The second is the BEST award. The BEST award includes such tasks as writing a high-quality technical notebook or engineering journal, marketing the team, promoting BEST, an interview, delivering an oral presentation to a panel of judges, and creating an exhibit that displays information about the team.

“I’m very proud of our students and look forward to what we can accomplish in the years to come,” team sponsor Ashley Brock said.

More than half of the team was made up of eighth graders, while many of the 56 teams in the competition featured sophomores, juniors and seniors, according to Brock.

Chance McVay, left, and Jake Jacobs guide D.A.R.T.’s robot through the course.

Chance McVay, left, and Jake Jacobs guide D.A.R.T.’s robot through the course.

“For seventh, eighth and ninth graders to compete against juniors and seniors and do as well as they did, that’s pretty good,” she said.

The teams at the South’s BEST Regional Robotics Championship came from Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Louisiana, Mississippi and Tennessee.

D.A.R.T. likely would have garnered a higher finish in the competition if it weren’t for hiccup in the first two rounds of the contest.

“Our robot had an electrical short in the first two rounds,” Brock said. “It was very disappointing, but there was nothing that could be done and it was not because of anything the students did. It was just a bit of bad luck. They have no reason to hang their heads at all.”

D.A.R.T.’s marketing team claimed a 13th place finish at the competition, the team’s highest finish.

D.A.R.T. also finished 21st in team exhibit and interview, 22nd in spirit and sportsmanship, 32nd in engineering notebook and 55th in robotics game placement.

D.A.R.T. qualified for the South’s BEST Regional Robotics Championship by finishing second at the Shelton State BEST Competition in November.

In the Shelton competition, the team finished first in marketing, first in engineering notebook, second in spirit and second in most photogenic.

Team members included Myles Akins, Joseph Barnes, Walker Courtney, Devin Daniels, Caleb Earle, Chris Flowers, Shermarcus Griffin, Mills Griffith, Patrick Hall, Parker Hallmark, Hudson Holley, Taylor Hurt, Chelsea Jackson, Jake Jacobs, Garry Malone, Chance McVay, J.C. McVay, Alexander Saliba, Aidan Skelton, Elias Smith, Tate Sparkman, Otis Turner, Davion Williams, Lula Boone, Aurelia Brown, Taylor Conley, Jordan Durrett, Sean Frankowski, Jim Graves, Andy Hoggle, Chris Hoven, James Jones, Malik Moore, Logan Principe, Ben Robertson, Jarvis Rowser, Brian Tripp and Erin White.