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‘Secret’ Corinth robotics team heading to regional competition

October 31, 2017 GMT

Corinth Warrior Robotics may be a well-kept secret. This is the seventh year for the team and they recently finished third in the state out of 27 teams at Mississippi State Best Robotics Competition at Mississippi State University in Starkville. The win qualifies them to advance to the regional competition for the southeast. They will compete against 58 other teams at the South’s Best Robotics Competition at Auburn University in December. During the MSU competition, the Corinth team won six awards: Most Robust Robot; Second Place — T-Shirt Design; Third Place — Mascot Dance Off; Second Place — Spirit and Sportsmanship; Third Place — Marketing Presentation and Third Place Overall. The team is led by Coach Beverly Henson, who is also a Corinth Middle School teacher. The team has four mentors Nikki Smith, Jacob Smith, Ryan Lawson and Angela Alvarez. Whatever the team does to place well in competitions, they appear to do it quietly until they compete. “I don’t think anyone knows we have a robotics team,” said team mentor Nikki Smith, with a laugh. Smith explained that a lot of work goes into preparing for the competitions. The team begins with a trip to Bagley College of Engineering at MSU for “The Reveal.” This is where the team finds out what their task is for their robot. For instance, last year they created a farming robot and this year they had to build a firefighting robot. The team is then given their game rules and kits. The kits include their motors, parts and consumables. It also includes a list of things they can add to the robot, if they choose. She explained there are different motors and parts and it is up to the team how they want to design the robot. “You could take that kit and make several completely different robots out of it,” said Smith. After The Reveal, the team has six weeks to complete their tasks. They divide into two teams - the Building Team and the Marketing Team. The teams each have several complex tasks which includes sketching and designing the robot and strategy-building on how the robot will perform its tasks; creating an engineering notebook to use with marketing, putting together a 14-minute powerpoint presentation about their product/robot and creating a Trade Show Booth. Their team is run like a company and the team captain is the “CEO.” Along with the marketing and performance of the team and the robot, they are also judged on sportsmanship and team spirit — this includes how enthusiastic they are and how well they treat the other teams. There is even a mascot dance off competition. Smith, who merely tagged along last year, said the whole experience was surprising from an outsider’s point of view. “I didn’t know what to expect. I had this image of four nerds in a room, but when I got there I was surprised ... it was this huge arena packed with people ... kids with full high school bands. I loved how excited they got ... it was like a Super Bowl,” said Smith. Students can become eligible to join the team in the seventh grade and they begin recruiting for the team after their competition season. The Corinth Warrior Robotics Team consists of CEO — Parth Patel; Head of Construction — Payne Tomlinson; Head of Marketing — Blain Teeters; Head of Notebook and Presentation — Cole Thacker; Build Team — Parth Patel, Payne Tomlinson, Caleb Sauls, Dalton Mitchell, Cameron Young, Luis Rosales, Sean Corbin, Hayden Shea, Devon Smith, Sierra Alago and Jacob Barton. Marketing Team — Cole Thacker, Blain Teeters, Enrique Aguilar, Osvaldo DeHoyos, Tobi Causton, Ciara Smith, Chloe Williams and Cameron Smith. Smith’s enthusiasm for the team and belief in it is contagious as she excitedly describes each facet of what they do. If her excitement is contagious, then the Corinth Warrior Robotics Team may not be a secret much longer.