SEARK schools fare well at robotics competition

When it comes to robotics, it appears Southeast Arkansas is the place to be.
Monticello, in alliance with a team from Lonoke, qualified for a state and a national tournament slot by winning the tournament champion award at the Winter Classic Robotics Tournament at the University of Arkansas at Little Rock Jan. 18-20.
Drew Central High School received the design award, McGehee High School received the Judges Award during the senior high competition, and Crossett Middle School received the excellence award, the tournament champions award and the skills award during the junior high battles.
The tournament consisted of about 25 middle schools and 25 high schools from across the state.
“The way the tournaments are set up, each robot is matched up to play in an alliance with another school’s robot,” Monticello robotics advisor Terri Smith explained. “This alliance battles against two other teams that are chosen by a computer program (a total of four robots are placed inside an arena).”
Monticello was paired with six different schools for six different matches in the first round of play, called qualifiers. Once qualifiers are completed, teams are ranked according to their individual scores. In the second round of play, teams get to choose their alliances.
Lonoke came in sixth and chose Monticello—who came in seventh—as their alliance, according to Smith. Once alliances are chosen, the second round of tournament play goes to single elimination play.
“Monticello battled their way with Lonoke into the finals by eliminating teams from schools such as Bryant and Jonesboro,” Smith said. “In the final battle, Monticello and Lonoke were teamed against two teams both from Sylvan Hills. The final score was 20-5.”
Both Monticello and Lonoke qualified to compete in state and national tournaments because of their win at UALR.

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