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New Mexico schools take honors at regional robotics championship

Three New Mexico schools placed in the Texas BEST (Boosting Engineering Science and Technology) Regional Robotics Championship. The regional competition, held Nov. 18-20 at the University of Texas at Dallas, brought together champion teams from hubs in Texas and New Mexico. The New Mexico State University College of Engineering has been host to the NM BEST Robotics hub for New Mexico and El Paso schools for 10 years.

Rio Rancho Homeschool's Daniel Greunig driviving a robot during the NM BEST Robotics Competition.
Rio Rancho Homeschool's Daniel Greunig drives the Robo Runner during the NM BEST Robotics Competition to a first place finish. (Photo by J. Victor Espinosa)

"We are extremely pleased that New Mexico teams performed so well in the regional competition and we congratulate the students and their mentors," said Patricia A. Sullivan, NMSU College of Engineering assistant dean. "NM BEST is a wonderful way to inspire students in our state to explore engineering and other technical fields. We know that many of them go on to pursue higher education in these fields as a result."

The Rio Rancho Robo Runners, from Rio Rancho Homeschool, took several honors at the competition:

They received the third place BEST award given to teams that perform the best overall in categories that include robot, engineering manual, booth, spirit and sportsmanship as well as the marketing presentation.

They Robo Runners also took eighth place for their Robot, second place for the Most Robust Machine, and the UT-Dallas Top Gun Award for the team that had the most points in one round.

"Our goal this year was to be greater than average, and this group of 33 students proved that they are just that," said team coach Shelly Gruenig. "With 56 teams advancing to BEST regionals, we brought home more recognition than ever before."

Several other New Mexico teams brought home awards:

Hatch Valley High School took 12th place Robot and first place Rockwell Collins T-Shirt.
Los Lunas School of Dreams High School took first place Website.

BEST Robotics organizes annual robotics competitions that introduce middle- and high-school students to engineering, problem-solving and teamwork - providing a taste of what it's like to work in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) careers.

BEST is organized by local hubs that recruit schools and support robotics teams by providing parts kits and organizing tournaments. There's no cost to schools for registration. Successful teams at the hub tournaments then participate in regional competitions.

The NM BEST Robotics competition was held Oct. 21 at NMSU. Taking top honors at that competition and invited to compete at the Texas Regional Robotics Championship were:

BEST Overall

First Place - Rio Rancho Homeschool, Rio Rancho
Second Place - Hatch Valley High School, Hatch
Third Place - School of Dreams Academy High School, Los Lunas
Fourth Place - Cottonwood Valley Charter School, Socorro (did not attend regional competition)

Also attending the regional competition was Portales High School, which took second in the NM BEST Robotics Competition.

For more information about NM BEST Robotics, visit http://engr.nmsu.edu/best/index.shtml.