Some members of the Minneota Robotics test out the robot they built. Left to right, Caleb Sterzinger, Carter Schuelke, Joe Voit (kneeling) and Logan Schuelke.

Robotics team up for new challenge

Two-part competition done virtually in 2021

After qualifying and then having its three-team alliance denied a trip to the Robotics Nationals in Detroit last season due to the COVID pandemic, the Minneota team is back at it working hard on two assigned projects for this season.
Normally, teams are sent a certain amount of components and parts, along with the rules to constructing a predetermined project each year. After working on the project for several weeks, Minneota and other teams would then travel to Duluth for the regional tournament that determines which teams advance to the nationals.
This season, however, there will be no traveling, nor is there one particular assigned competitive project.
"There are two parts to the competition this year," said Darren Clausen, who is in his 10th year as coach of the Minneota Robotics team. "The robot will be much less complicated than normal, but will still be similar to last year's competition that was called 'Infinite Recharge'."
Clausen is being assisted again this season by Justin Buysse.
The first part of the competition is to build a robot, then compete for the best time and most points scored via video tapes sent into the region.
Teams were sent limited supplies this year.
"We were sent three new balls for scoring and that was about it," Clausen noted.
The second portion of the competition is to design a new game that could be used for a competition.
"You have to design the game, name it, and come up with all the rules and scoring system for it," Clausen said.
Clausen has been teaching the students how to use 3D designs utilizing downloaded apps for the game they are designing.
Due to social distancing, the Robotics students have been doing test runs at St. Edward's School gymnasium after school each day.
Because of the overlapping of sports and other activities this year due to the pandemic, this year's Robotics team is much smaller than in the past.
The team is comprised of seniors Reid Fier, Carter Schuelke, Logan Schuelke and Caleb Sterzinger; juniors Thomas Belaen and Emma Lipinski; and freshmen Samantha Landrus, Drew Lipinski, Sam Skorczewski, Kylie Sterzinger and Joe Voit.
Minneota has been working on its projects for three weeks now.
"It's similar to trap shooting where you aren't competing in-person with any other teams," said Clausen. "You do runs and then keep track of your best times and scores and send them in. We will be competing (virtually) in a pod of 30-35 other teams in the region."
The deadline for the two separate competition is March 4. Those with the best times, scores and game will advance to the national competition.
"Without the building demands like other years, it's a little bit easier," said Clausen. "But there are so many challenges teaching 3D designs in a short amount of time."

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