March 9, 2021 - Three Robotics teams from Comal Independent School District took top honors at the San Antonio BEST Competition in December and were recognized for their achievements during February’s regular board meeting.
The Canyon Lake High School robotics team, coached by Patrick Fallin, took the top prize with the highest score after completing six rounds. This team also came in second place for the Founders Award for Creative Design. Team members include Angelina Abolos, Pierce Heller, James Lalonde, Tristan Roberts and Dalton Stanley.
The Smithson Valley Middle School robotics team, coached by Sandy Boldway and Allison Hallmark, came in third place overall for the BEST award and third place for the game competition. This marks the fifth consecutive year that the SVMS team qualified for the state competition. This year’s state-wide event was canceled due to COVID-19 safety precautions.
Team members include Augustus Borchelt, Samuel Castillo, Noah Chaulklin, Austin Ciaravino, Nickolas Ciaravino, Jay DeYoung, Ashley Dudzikowski, Ryder Garcia, Geoffrey Guyer, Talan Fuller, Morgan Heintz, William Hickman, Brielle Jang, Zachary Jaster, Gregory Lee, Matheus Levenberg, Mary Grace McCash, Zach Niles, Weston Packer, Luke Ringlein, Lorena Rosas, Luke Schroeder, Zachry Skrobarcek and Sam Wroblewski.
The Smithson Valley High School robotics team, coached by Ben Lagueux, came in fourth place overall, fourth for the BEST award and first for critical design review. Team members include Noah Backlund, Monali Baker, Vishali Baker, Ally Brown, Riley Collins, Clara Conner, Emalee Cyphers, Amelia Dorko, Reagan Hoffmann, Aidan Hubert, Austin Hubert, Gabe Martinez and Dominic Meza.
Additionally, the robotics team from Memorial Early College High School placed seventh overall.
The annual competition is part of the nationwide organization of BEST, which stands for Boosting Engineering, Science and Technology. This year’s theme was “Outbreak,” challenging teams to create robots which could seek out and find various cells from a confined space and then place the cells in a testing area to determine if they are infected, immune or non-infected.
“The CLHS team was able to create a robot with sensors and program it to follow lines of the grid, collect three cells and place them in the testing area consistently,” said Coach Fallin, who teaches engineering and robotics at CLHS. “Through careful analysis, they were able to create a highly effective strategy that matched their robot’s ability and programming.”
Comal ISD has been promoting and developing robotics teams through BEST and through FIRST LEGO League for almost a decade, and students along with teachers and mentor coaches look forward to the challenges every year.
“Students involved in our engineering and robotics program learn collaboration, mechanics, programming, presentation skills, marketing skills, electric wiring, problem solving, engineering design process, 3-D modeling and analysis,” Fallin said.
-Members of the Canyon Lake High School Robotics team pictured from left are James Lalonde, Tristan Roberts, Pierce Heller and Coach Patrick Fallin.
-Members of the Smithson Valley Middle School Robotics team work on their machine for competition.
-Members of the Smithson Valley High School Robotics team include back row from left, Aidan Hubert, Noah Backlund and Riley Collins; middle row from left, Dominic Meza, Reagan Hoffmann, Clara Conner and Monali Baker; front row from left, Vishali Baker, Ally Brown and Emalee Cyphers.