Aurora -- Robotics Team TBD (To Be Determined) of Aurora High School captured first place in the Tech Challenge world championship April 27-30 in St. Louis by using a robot modeled after rescue situations faced by mountain explorers all over the globe.

Team members include AHS juniors Tyler Thieding and Ian Doemling, AHS freshman Kameron Fry, Kenston High School freshman Barbora Ptackova, and Solon High School sophomore Kavya Kosana.

The team was guided by Coach Darren Thieding, Assistant Coach Joe Doemling and mentor Petr Ptacek.

More than 5,100 teams worldwide were reduced to 128 groups that qualified for the St. Louis championship competition -- 100 teams from the United States and 28 from other countries including China, Russia, Taiwan, the Netherlands, Germany, New Zealand, Canada, and Mexico.

Coach Thieding said the robot scores points by "resetting" rescue beacons, delivering rescue climbers to a shelter, parking on the mountain and in the rescue beacon repair zone or the floor goal.

He said the robot also can score points by retrieving debris from the playing field and placing it in mountain or floor goals, and also by hanging from a pull-up bar during the last 30 seconds of a match.

"TBD's robot°features a drive train with custom tracks driven by 3D-printed pulleys," Thieding explained. "It's designed to drive up and down the mountain rapidly, efficiently scoring debris.

"It's capable of hanging from the mountain using a custom-machined winch that uses a tape measure. The robot collects debris using a 3D-printed sweeper.°There are more than 100,000 lines of code in the software."

Team member Ian Doemling said part of the reason the team was so successful was its dedication.

"We invested much of our time into this program, and the quality of the result showed," he said. "This is our fifth year as a team.

"Accomplishing this feat in our first year would have been unimaginable. Every year, we have grown tremendously as a team, both in experience and knowledge.

"Each year, we have gotten a little better. None of this would have been possible without the direction and guidance of our mentors."

Team member Tyler Thieding said the group put a lot of time into robotics, "whether it be building, practicing or competing."

Team member Kameron Fry said the outfit was successful because of its commitment.

"Since September, we've put in countless hours of hard work, trial and error, successes and failures," he said. "I think winning the world championship was a payoff from that."

Team member Kavya Kosana said when team members put their minds together, "we were able to come up with a beautiful robot design and judging presentation that would lead us to be successful. Our dedication and determination to win got us to where we are."

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