KISD/TODD MARTIN - From left, Shoemaker High School senior Miguel Rodriguez, senior Charles Douglas and freshman Christian Bufford stand behind the robot they helped design and build for a BEST robotics competition in Austin. They finished eighth out of 29 teams and earned a most photogenic award. -

By Todd Martin

Special to the Daily Herald

The Shoemaker High School Cyberwolves robotics team finished eighth out of 29 teams in the Capitol Boosting Engineering and Science Technology robotics competition Oct. 24 in Austin.

The Shoemaker team won the most photogenic award for its robot design. The team from Copperas Cove High School won the most robust design.

In addition, the Shoemaker Cyberwolves received recognition for a safety video about wearing protective goggles. The competition was a regional BEST event in which the top three finishers advanced to the national round.

Competing schools had six weeks to design and build their robots for the event, which was called High Octane. The robots were required to pick up items like tennis balls, globes and cans that recognized different molecules and put together a particular molecular structure.

Shoemaker senior Miguel Rodriguez, a three-year veteran of BEST robotics, said this year's event was more difficult than previous ones because it required students to do the math involved in piecing together the chemical structures.

"Usually, we just have to use the robot to pick up things. This year we had to do the formulas," Rodriguez said. "There was more pressure on the drivers (of the robots). There were also more teams."

Dr. Sandra Melendez, the STEM Academy coordinator at Shoemaker, said the Cyberwolves were in second place at one point in the event and advanced to a wild card match before missing the semifinal round.

She said the team did well against robotics clubs with 15-plus years experience.

"There was a lot of enthusiasm," said senior Charles Douglas of Shoemaker. He said the Cyberwolves' robot featured a claw design that was difficult to perfect and worked well in competition.

All the competing schools received their challenge for the event with six weeks to create a workable design and build the robot. Rodriguez said the Shoemaker team brainstormed ideas and weeded through many design options.

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