A computerized animation of what the Infinite Recharge competition will look like.

Robotics team gearing up for regionals

Seventeen members of the Minneota Robotics team have begun working on this year's themed game in anticipation of a competition March 4-7 at the Duluth Entertainment Convention Center.

"The game this year is a Star Wars theme called 'Infinite Recharge'," said Robotics Coach Darren Clausen. "We are in the middle of our build time, so we are just busy designing and building the robot every day." In the "Infinite Recharge" competition, two alliances work to protect FIRST City from approaching asteroids caused by a distant space skirmish.

Each alliance, along with their trusty droids, race to collect and store Power Cells in order to energize their Shield Generator for maximum protection.

To activate stages of the Shield Generator, droids manipulate their control panels after storing a specific number of Power Cells.

Near the end of the match, the droids race to their Rendezvous Point to get their Shield Generator operational to protect the city.

The competition is based on a points system, with points for power cells increasing in value as they become more difficult to store. Under strict rules, with limited time and resources, teams of students are challenged to raise funds, design a team "brand", hone teamwork skills, build and program industrial-size robots to play a difficult field game against like-minded competitors. The themed projects are as close to "real-world" engineering as a student can get.

The robotics theme changes each year and seemingly increases in difficulty with its complicated sequences. The annual Robotics competition is billed as "The hardest fun you'll ever have."

Studies have shown that 88 percent of those students involved in robotics have more interest in doing well in school, and 92 percent are more interested in attending college.

Minneota team members this season are:

SENIORS Tony DeSmet, Nolan Genzler, Mackenzie Vierstraete.

JUNIORS Reid Fier, McKenzie Monnet, Carter Schuelke, Logan Schuelke, Caleb Sterzinger.

SOPHOMORES Thomas Belaen, Maisie Benson, Emma Lipinski.

FRESHMEN Kaci Callens, Joey Clark, Garet DeBoer, Devyn Hansen, Carlos Martinez, Joe Verschelde.

Caleb Sterzinger and Carter Schuelke

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