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The Daily Ardmoreite
  • AHS Robotics Team receives design award at regional competition

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  • WEATHERFORD — Ardmore High School Robotics Team won't be advancing to the world championship, but that was "only a flesh wound" for the four enterprising teens.
    The team, which used a "Monty Python and the Holy Grail" theme, and went by the name "Knights Who Say Ni," brought home the PTC Design Award from the Oklahoma Regional FIRST Tech Challenge Robotics Championship at Southwestern Oklahoma State University.
    The PTC Design Award is given to the team that best uses computer-aided designing to create a functional and aesthetic robot.
    "I enjoyed winning this award," Kevin Stolfa said. "Since I'm the main builder, winning this award is my main goal every year."
    Other team members are programmer/driver Dillon DeValve, bookkeeper/driver/rules expert Tony Dirks and designer/pit coach Taylor Tull.
    Liao Home School in Oklahoma City and the Tulsa Regent Preparatory School won the event, which featured 30 teams, and will advance to the world competition in St. Louis.
    The Ardmore robot was inspired by the killer rabbit in Monty Python. It was the only robot that mastered retrieving rings and having another robot get on top of it.
    Yet, the team still had the challenge of not knowing how their robot would fully work going into the competition.
    "It was hard not having anywhere to test it," Dirks said. "We need Wifi without the internet."
    Tull organized the design of the group's booth, which featured a burlap tablecloth, a knight's helmet and a stuffed animal to represent the killer bunny. The movie also played in the background.
    Dirks organized the making of origami killer rabbits, which were given out to those that visited the booth.
    "There are always giggles when you go to what is basically a nerd convention and you are the Knights Who Say Ni," Stolfa said. "We also surprised the judges who didn't think we would know Monty Python."
    With competitions over for the school year, the team will now work on recruiting new members to replace the three seniors.
    Members would also like to see other teams develop in the area.
    "It would be great to have someone to come over to help before the competition," Dirks said.
    Schools and teams interested in next year's robotics challenge can contact Brad Fitzgerald of the SWOSU Engineering Technology Department at (580) 774-3161 or brad.fitzgerald@swosu.edu.

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