Off to Houston!

By Jessi Kjemhus

Robots battling against one another, forming alliances, launching balls, and climbing into the air! This year’s theme for Robotics was “Rapid React”. Thunder Robotics not only had to build a robot to shoot balls into a central funnel, but they needed to create arms to extend up to a bar and lift the robot off the ground, then climb up to two more bars! The team built just that and at the Great Northern Regional tournament their robot was put to a test. On March 25th-26th, Team 876 took their robot to the Alerus Center where the tournament was held and was joined with 48 other teams from North Dakota and Minnesota. All battled out for the chance at Worlds in Houston, TX.

Friday was filled with qualifying matches. Team 876 finished with a record of 9-0-1 (wins-losses-ties), earning 3rd place. On Saturday, Team 876 was picked by Team 5172 from Greenbush, MN to be on the 1st seeded Alliance, along with Team 6453 from Keliher, MN. Two wins were needed to move on from quarterfinals to semifinals. That is exactly what happened. Two more wins were necessary from semifinals to get into the finals. Finally, two straight wins over the 7th seed Alliance to win the championship. It was a battle with Team 876 overcoming some tough defense, but Alliance persevered through adversity and won the championship! With a record of 16-0-1, this is the first time that 876 has finished a Regional unbeaten!

Along with their first-place award, Team 876 won the Autonomous Award, which celebrates the team that has demonstrated consistent, high performance robot operation during the autonomously managed actions. Evaluation is based on the robot's ability to sense its surroundings, position itself or onboard mechanisms appropriately, and execute tasks.  

Our team consists of students:  Ava Chandler, Beau Enger, Trevin Hins, Hayden Lloyd, Myelle Redding, Mary Pahner, Jett Schwehr, Angela Zaruba, Ander Thorsgard, Drea Rodriguez, Freyja Engen, Jay Nelson, Spencer Boe and Chris Parsons.  Mentors assisting with the team were Ben Thorsgard, Ray Aamold, Candice Nelson, Drake Fisher, Justin Nelson, Steven Hlucny and Mike Voglewede. The Drive team consisted of Ava, Trevin, Ethan and Spencer. The pit crew was Myelle and Ander. Programmers were Beau, Ava and Freyja. Scouting and Strategy, lead by Drea and Angela, and included Hayden, Chris, Mary, Jett, Ander, Jay and Freyja. Every student provided a needed segment necessary to the success of the entire team.

To continue the celebration, a lights and siren parade welcomed home our amazing team after they earned first place at the Great Northern Regional tournament. The team is currently working on generating funds for their trip to the World Championships in Houston. Be sure to support them as they will be selling raffle tickets for cash prizes. Any donations could be sent to the Northwood or Hatton Schools in care of Thunder Robotics.