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BEST robotics competition winners named

Referee Greg Swenson, left, of Willmar, observes Saturday as Alexis Vazquez, 16, a member of the New London-Spicer Robotics Team, attempts to move hangers from one stand to another using the team’s robotic invention. The second annual Minnesota BEST Robotics Competition was conducted this weekend at the NLS High School gym. (Tribune photo by Ron Adams)

NEW LONDON — Winners were named in this weekend’s second annual Minnesota BEST high school robotics competition, which was conducted Friday and Saturday at the New London-Spicer High School.

According to a news release from local organizers, Frazee-Vergas was the top winner for the overall BEST award. Second place went to ARCHER, a home-school based group from Circle Pines and NLS earned third place.

Those three teams will compete Dec. 5-7 at the Northern Plains BEST Regional Championship at the Fargo Civic Center.

BEST stands for Boosting Engineering, Science and Technology.

BEST Inc., a nonprofit volunteer-based organization, has operated an annual robotics competition nationwide for 20 years in an effort to inspire students to pursue careers in engineering, science, technology and math.

This year’s theme for the competition’s game was “Gatekeeper, with teams competing against each other in timed matches to assemble transistors into logic gates, logic gates into integrated circuits, and integrated circuits into central processing units.

They had from Sept. 7 until last weekend to develop their robots.

Along with the actual robotics competition, teams were judged on marketing presentations, team exhibits and their engineer’s notebooks.

There were awards for the various competitive areas.

The Robotics winners were Frazee-Vergas in first place with 2,108 points, NLS in second place with 739.20 points and Kerkhoven-Murdock-Sunburg in third place with 710.40 points.

The Rookie Award was given to Servo Tech for participating in the BEST robotics event for the first time.

The Sweat and Duct Tape Award went to KMS for the team that did everything they could do to make their robot operational, through problem solving and innovation.

Spirit, Sportsmanship and Teamwork Award went to ARCHER. The Team Exhibit and Interview Award went to Frazee-Vergas. ARCHER received the marketing award, and NLS the notebook award.

 The Most Robust Robot Award winner was NLS, for having the machine that required the least maintenance during and between the matches and generally being the sturdiest machine in the competition.

Founders Award went to Frazee-Vergas for making the best use of the engineering process in consideration of offensive and defensive capabilities in machine design.

The Finalist Award was presented to KMS, for qualifying for the finals in the robot competition but not being able to advance to the regional competition.