Southold High School’s celebrated robotics team has had a great year.
In an alliance with two other schools, the team won the Long Island Regional FIRST Robotics Competition in March and went on to place 28th in the World Championships in St. Louis, Mo., the last weekend in April competing against 400 teams from all over the world.
The 18 students were charged with building a robot that can play basketball and balance on an unstable platform.
“To build a robot and have it see a basket, maneuver, shoot, score and balance is one of the most difficult tasks thus far in the ten years the team has been participating in FIRST robotics,” said Mr. Kryl this week.
Southold technology teacher Tony Kryl said the school’s regional win was due in part to the team’s tactical decision to build a robot that was a strong defensive player.
Southold’s team has won the regional competition five times in the past ten years and has gone to the world championships three times. In 2002, the team won the Rookie All-Star award and in 2009 was a division finalist.
The team used the same robot for both the regional and the world championship competition and is now waiting for it to be shipped back from St. Louis in a Fed Ex crate.
“Southold is notorious for its strong drive train systems, this year incorporating an active suspension system to maintain power,” said Mr. Kryl.
At one point in the regional competition, the robot was pushed over and was standing on its side with its drive train exposed, but since it had been designed with a self-righting arm, it was able to push itself upright and continue the game.
Mr. Kryl said it remains to be seen what the team might do differently next year, since the FIRST Robotics competition involves a different challenge every year.