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SMHS robotics team, left to right: Joseph Morse, Alannah Ritch, Andrew Pina, Clayton Niemietz, Garret Anderson, Saysamone Manyseng, Patric Perez, Ian Howard, Max Hernandez (holding trophy), Anthony Pina, and Luis Lopez. PHOTO by SCOTT MORSE

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SMHS robot. PHOTO by SCOTT MORSE

The San Marcos High School robotics team’s robot placed first in last weekend’s Boosting Engineering, Science, and Technology competition, earning its creators a spot in the state regional championship.

The robot, composed of plywood, PVC pipe, screws, other hardware, took six week to build and was tailored to a theme.

“This year’s theme was ‘bugs,’ featuring genetically engineered insects that escaped their controlled environment,” said Iris Campbell, SMCISD spokesperson. “The BEST teams designed, built, and programmed robots that competed to capture and return the bugs alive to a secure location quickly and efficiently.”

Last weekend’s tournament was sponsored by Texas State University and held at Dripping Springs High School. The championship will be at the University of Texas-Dallas on November 18-19.

“The BEST award is made up of four components: competition performance, engineering design notebook, marketing display, and spirit/sportsmanship,” said Brad Gaskill, SMHS teacher and team sponsor.

Gaskill said the SMHS robot has had several pet-names as the year went along, but an official name has not stuck.

The BEST organizers say their mission is to “engage and excite students about engineering, science, and technology, as well as inspire them to pursue careers in these fields.” Each fall, over 750 middle and high schools and over 11,000 students participate in the competition, according to their website.

The SMHS robotics team 2011 includes: Garrett Anderson, Chris de la Iglesia, Austin Haas, Nathan Heathman, Max Hernandez, Ian Howard, Josh Kirkpatrick, Luis Lopez, Saysamone Manyseng, Joseph Morse, Clayton Niemietz, Patric Perez, Andrew Pina, Anthony Pina, Alannah Ritch, Frankie Torres, and David Velasquez.

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