Kinetic Knights bring home another medal, gear up to make history at the worlds
By Kanza Saleem

Education and Technology

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The KDSS Kinetic Knights' robot (Team 781) chases a blue logo piece in the Cleveland competition
photos courtesy of the Kinetic Knights


Wearing the green T-shirts of the KDSS Kinetic Knights, the drive team members, Sven Wehrmann (L), Matt Pagnan and Stewart Clifford, prepare for a qualification match

The Kincardine District Secondary School Kinetic Knights have returned home with their arms full of awards and are ranked 13th in the world out of a pool of about 2,000 teams. he entire world, out of a pool of about 2,000 teams.

The Knights travelled to Cleveland, Ohio, from April 7-9 to compete in the Buckeye Regional. It was an extremely successful weekend for the Knights; one they will remember for years to come. 

Attending the Buckeye Regional was a new stretch for the team, as it has never been to a regional outside of Canada. The Knights entered the competition as one of only two teams representing Canada, and took the Americans by storm.

The tournament bean with team member Lia Cavasotto singing the Canadian national anthem with a member of Team Theory 6 from Mississauga, Ontario. The Knights were extremely proud to represent Canada in Ohio. 

Following this, the qualification matches started. Kincardine (Team 781) was very successful throughout the rounds, and was undefeated at the end of the qualification matches, placing the Knights in the number one seat. 

As the number one team, Kincardine chose to ally with Team Sparx of Webster, New York, and Team Theory 6 of Mississauga, Ontario. The alliance breezed through both the quarter-finals and semi-finals, remaining undefeated through both rounds. 

In the finals, it faced the second-seeded alliance, which had demonstrated itself to be a very strong competitor. The Knights, unfortunately, lost the first round, but redeemed themselves in the following match. 

The teams were tied, and the next match would determine the winner. The Knights played an outstanding last match, but in the end, they were defeated by an extremely narrow margin of three points.

The Kinetic Knights received the Regional Finalist title, and also came home with the Website Award and the Judges' Award. The Judges' Award celebrates a team that has exemplified the message of FIRST© (For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology) and has reached out to its community and school to help promote science and technology. 

The team is proud to have received this great honour. This is the fourth Website Award the team has won, which is an amazing feat. This is the second one the Knights have received this year.

Overall, the team has had the most successful year in its nine-year history. With six awards under its belt, as well as gold and silver medals, the team is very grateful to its amazing sponsors, including Bruce Power, the Power Workers' Union, and the Society of Energy Professionals, who helped make this happen.

The team has a two-week hiatus from competitions before the World Championships in St. Louis, Missouri, but that doesn’t mean there’s not work left to do. Robotics is a very costly program to run, with annual costs that run into the tens of thousands of dollars. 

The team hopes to raise money this year not just to attend the World Championships but to keep the team financially stable for years to come. Bruce Power has contributed a very generous donation of $15,000 to the team, which will help immensely in funding the trip to the worlds.



Stewart Clifford (L) and Sven Wehrmann, wearing green T-shirts, concentrate on the competition during the second match of the finals

However, to keep robotics running the team needs to raise a grand total of $40,000. The team has succeeded in raising $17,500 already, but needs more to keep the program going.

If you are interested in donating or sponsoring the team, please E-mail the Knights at sponsorship@team781.com. The team is proud to represent Canada and Kincardine on the world stage this month, and hopes to make history.

Team 781 is a robotics team based in Kincardine, created in 2002. It has participated for eight years in the FIRST© Robotics Competition.  FIRST© is a non-profit organization that runs robotics competitions for students of all ages. 

There are about 35 members on the robotics team, as well as 10 mentors who help out. The Knights have won six awards in the 2011 season alone:  With the robot, they have attended three regionals in Waterloo, Toronto, and Cleveland for the 2011 season, and have qualified for the World Championships in St. Louis, Missouri. 

For more information about the team, visit the website at www.team781.com. For information about the FIRST© organization, visit www.usfirst.org

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Sunday, April 10, 2011