The Kingdom Country Academy Robotics Team won first place in the BEST Award at the Collin County Boosting Engineering, Science and Technology Competition. The Kingdom Country Academy team was just one out of 41 teams on Oct. 22 that competed at Prosper High School.


KCA Robotics Team, with an average age of 13 years old, also won first place in best project engineering notebook and best webpage design. The team had six weeks to prepare for the competition, including designing the robot, building prototypes, building the competition robot, Wilbur, selecting the robot drivers and allowing them sufficient time to practice the tasks.


This was the team’s first BEST competition. Rachel Yates, 15-year-old leader of editing, enjoyed watching the other competitor’s drive their robots.


“It was fun watching the other competitors and seeing their robots and how different they were to complete the same kinds of tasks we built our robot for,” Yates said.


This year, the BEST competition’s theme was “Bet The Farm.” Each task the robots could perform was farm-related including harvesting lettuce, which were loofahs, herding squeaky toy pigs into a gate, picking tomatoes, which were orange wiffle balls, and planting seeds, which were golf balls.


Kimberly Martin, 16, and Aaron Stephens, 13, were two of the six robot drivers. The 20 team members took a written exam that tested them on the competition rules and how to score points. They also took a driving test to determine who could drive the robot the best. Martin and Stephens scored high on the two tests.


“I enjoyed (driving the robot on Game Day),” Martin said. “It was stressful for some times. Whenever you were at your final 10 seconds it was quite stressful, but I thought it was fun.”


Stephens agreed with Martin on the stress level of Game Day.


“It was actually pretty easy — kind of stressful because it’s Game Day and you want to advance, but nothing bad happened in my round, and we just went with it,” Stephens said.


KCA Robotics was up against 40 other schools including Prosper, Allen and Plano Senior high schools. In addition to controlling the robot for the various tasks, team members also had to present their team as a product to the judges which included a 25 minute marketing presentation.


The team will advance to the BEST regional competition in December at the Dr. Pepper Arena in Frisco.