After a stunning performance at the Chickasaw Nation Qualifier Tournament, the Ardmore High School Robotics Team is advancing to the state tournament.

"They were so cohesive," said advisor Sandie Barnes. "They worked well as a team, and what really struck the judges was that they never gave up. No matter how bad things got, they always tried to fix things."

Members are builder Kevin Stolfa, programmer Dillon DeValve, driver Anthony Dirks and pit area coach Taylor Tull.
The team, which is using a "Monty Python" theme this year, is going by the name Knights Who Say Ni and wearing shirts featuring the Holy Hand Grenade.

In Ada, the team struggled with the programming of their robot, which somehow reverted to a default program, as opposed to the one developed by the students.

"I forgot to rerun a program," DeValve said. "We had the problem through most of the tournament, but we had it fixed by the end."

The programming issues led to the arm that extends to complete tasks starting to fall off. The team will be rebuilding the arm before the state tournament.

"We're going to use the stuff we saw at the competition and use it in the arm of our robot," DeValve said.
The team won eighth place and the Motivator Award at the Ada tournament. Team members also helped other teams who were having programming and weight issues.

"They just jumped in and helped," Barnes said.

New rules expanded the number of functions robots could do in the playing field, which created much appreciated variety to the competition.

For example, last year robots could not touch each other in the playing field. This year, robots could block another robot from reaching certain elements.

"If your robot can't do anything else, it could block the other robot from scoring," DeValve said.

The state tournament will be in March in Weatherford.