Franklin students to compete in robotics challenge

From staff reports

Students on the Franklin Area High School’s robotics team will have their skills put to the test in a competition this weekend.

The team, known as “The Castle Crushers,” is participating in the BEST Robotics “Demo Daze” challenge at Grove City College over Friday and Saturday.

The competition gives students six weeks to create a robot built on materials like PVC pipe and plywood. That robot is then expected to demolish a model building safely and clear debris from the site while gathering reusable materials.

The tasks are expected to be completed in three minutes.

The BEST Robotics competition is an annual competition that aims to get middle and high school students interested in the engineering field. But the program also engages students in their leadership, organizational, business, and marketing skills, too.

Team CEO Carson Hittle said in a news release that the competition sparked his interest in robotics, taught him business skills, and cultivated an enjoyable environment in which he sees the younger students as family.

The release was created by Maddox Dechant, who is the team’s outreach lead.

“BEST Robotics was such an enjoyable experience that I participated through my whole high school career,” senior Philip Napoles said in the release.

He is this year’s engineer team leader.

The marketing team, led by senior Ethan Culp, is tasked with organizing the team as a business entity. That includes creating a name, logo, and brand promise.

The top three teams at this weekend’s competition will move on to a national competition in Denver scheduled in December.

The team was unable to compete last year due to the COVID-19 pandemic.