Annual Robotics Tournament Held at Lone Star Camp

August 22, 2023

ATHENS, TEX. – The 2nd Annual Robotics Tournament in the Southwestern Union territory was held from March 17-19, 2023, at Lone Star Camp. Eleven teams from across the Southwestern Union came and enjoyed a spirited and fun-filled weekend, which culminated in the FIRST® LEGO Tournament on Sunday. 

This year’s robotics tournament’s theme was “Energy.” In the SuperPowered Challenge, teams were tasked to explore where energy comes from and how it is distributed, stored and used, and then put their superpowered creativity to work to innovate for a better energy future.

This qualifying tournament, hosted by the Southwest Region Conference, is unique because it is the only tournament that lasts an entire weekend. It is planned so that different teams can interact with each other, worship together on Sabbath and enjoy the different amenities that Lone Star Camp has to offer. Many robotics tournaments take place on Saturday, but this tournament allows Adventist schools to participate without any Sabbath conflicts. 

Teams and visitors were involved in Sabbath services, where Jason North, Southwest Region Conference executive secretary, was the worship speaker. After lunch, the attendees were able to hike, feed the horses and canoe on the Lone Star Camp lake. The day was capped off with a fun, riveting vespers service, where Carlton Byrd, Southwest Region Conference president, gave relevant challenges to the teams and visitors.

On tournament Sunday, teams showcased their projects to a panel of judges from around the country and then had their robots complete several different missions. The objective was to see how many of the 15 missions the robots could complete in a short amount of time. Of the 11 teams, three teams advanced to the national tournament, which was held in May at Forest Lake Academy in Apopka, Fla. In our tournament, the defending champions, the Ozark SkyHawks from Ozark Adventist Academy in Gentry, Ark., secured their first place title again. The other teams that advanced were the North Dallas Sentinels from North Dallas Adventist Academy in Richardson, Tex., and the Tranquility STEM Stars, a group of Adventist students from San Antonio. Incidentally, the Tranquility STEM Stars became the national champions of the FIRST® LEGO Tournament in Florida. 

Everyone enjoyed the tournament and all that the weekend had to offer. We credit and thank our team, the Southwest Region Conference administration and the many volunteers that traveled from around the country to make this event a success.

By Buford Griffith, III

Southwest Region Conference Education Superintendent and Tournament Director