MACH, Pike County top annual TROY BEST Robotics competition

Sixteen teams competed in the event held in Trojan Arena.

Sixteen teams competed in the event held in Trojan Arena.

Troy University hosted 16 schools on Saturday during the fifth annual BEST (Boosting Engineering Science and Technology) Robotics hub competition.

Teams from both the TROY and Wiregrass hubs competed in multiple events, including giving an oral marketing presentation, designing and building an educational team exhibit, creating an engineering notebook, designing a team webpage and participating in a critical engineering design process interview.

Each year’s theme is based on a current need in the industry, said Dr. Robin Bynum, Professor and Executive Director of Educational Outreach, and this competition’s theme was “Demo Daze.”

“What the teams had to do this year was demolish a building where it’s too dangerous for humans to go in, so they had to design a robot that would be able to go in and do several things as a part of the competition,” she said.

A supply kit was given to each participating school on Kick Off Day, and each team had seven weeks to build and practice with their creations. A practice day was also held at TROY the week prior to the event.

During the event, teams were tasked with performing the operations at a demolition site, including planning and executing a building demolition, construction security and safety measures at the site, clearing the site of trash and recapturing reusable and recyclable materials. Trees were also placed in the playing field that could not be disturbed along with light polls that could be installed.

New to the TROY hub after their usual group disbanded due to COVID, MACH (Mobile Area Coalition of Homeschoolers ) Robotics placed first in six categories and won the top spot in the coveted BEST Award category.

“Everyone at TROY was great, super friendly and helpful and just great to work with. We’re really happy with the outcome,” said Tyson Hoffmann, a mentor to the MACH engineering team. “The competition is not just about robotics, it’s also about business. It’s been a lot of fun, and the kids really enjoyed it. They did all the work.”

Marisol Hoffmann, president of MACH, said her team enjoyed the experience and they’re looking forward to representing the TROY hub at the regional competition at South’s BEST in Auburn from Dec. 4-5.

“We really enjoyed the day, and we were really grateful that we were even able to join a different hub after ours disbanded. All of the teams there were really nice and we felt so welcomed,” she said. “The Auburn competition is always very daunting and we don’t really know what to expect, but I do know that we’re going to work hard—as hard as we can—and hope for the best!”

Pike County's CA3L team poses with their many awards from the robotics competition.
Pike County’s CA3L team placed second overall and will also represent TROY at the regional competition in Auburn in December.

In addition to placing second in the BEST category and joining MACH in Auburn, Pike County’s CA3L robotics team was also awarded The Trojan Way Award. The Trojan Way Award is voted on by each team for the team they believe displayed helpfulness, respect to others, responsibility and courage to do what’s right.

“Our kids worked so hard, but this shows that not only do we have smart, bright students, they are also willing to help their peers, people they’re competing against,” said Kim Sellers, STEM facilitator and mentor to the CA3L team. “They’re kind, considerate and good leaders, and they worked hard. We’re so proud of them!”

TROY hub awards are as follows:


  • 1st place BEST Award
  • 1st place Robot
  • 1st place CDR
  • Founder’s Award for Creative Design
  • 1st place Engineering Notebook
  • 2nd place Webpage
  • 1st place Exhibit and Interviews
  • 1st place Marketing


  • 2nd place Engineering Notebook
  • 1st place Web Page Design
  • The Trojan Way Award
  • 2nd place Robot Performance
  • 2nd place Critical Robot Design
  • 2nd place Exhibit in Informal Interviews
  • 2nd place Marketing Presentation
  • 2nd place BEST Award

Thurgood Marshall Middle School

  • 3rd place Web Page Design
  • 3rd place Exhibit in Informal Interviews
  • 3rd place BEST Award

Straughn High School

  • 3rd place Engineering Notebook
  • 3rd place Robot Performance
  • 3rd place Critical Robot Design
  • 3rd place Marketing Presentation

About BEST Robotics

BEST is a national program with local competition sites in eighteen states. It is administered by BEST Inc., a 501c3 non-profit organization, that sets curriculum and competition standards. The mission of BEST is to inspire students to pursue careers in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics through participation in a competitive robotics program that fosters knowledge, teamwork, and communication. A major tenet of the program is that it is free to schools; there is no cost for provided robotics materials nor to enter a team.