Pequot Lakes takes first place, Pine River-Backus second in robotics competition
This year’s game required robots to scavenge power cells (foam balls) from all over the playing field and place those pieces in designated goals for points. With enough power cells, the team moves on to stage two where they interact with a rotating control panel for additional points.
Finally, at the end of the round, teams attempt to hoist their 100 to 120 pound robots out of the playing field onto a pivoting balance bar for bonus points. A large number of bonus points are awarded for each robot able to take off from the ground successfully, as well as an additional bonus if the balance bar is level. These bonuses often become a deciding factor in which the team wins the 3-v-3 match.
During the October 29 event, Pine River-Backus and Pequot Lakes each played in six qualifying games. After qualifying, Pequot Lakes placed first with five wins and one loss; Pine River-Backus was third with four wins and two losses.
A random set of six teams play each match 3v3 in qualifying, so Pequot Lakes and Pine River-Backus played the same side together and won one of their last qualifiers together, with both teams successfully hoisting their robots at the end for the bonus points of the match which bring the victory.
Pequot Lakes and Pine River-Backus then met for the championship final. In the final match, the Pequot Lakes alliance prevailed to take first place. Pine River-Backus also climbed from third to second place.
There were 17 teams from 16 schools at the event, which was hosted by Upsala High School by the UC-Botics team as part of the Northern Minnesota Robotics Conference, a regional association of teams from Greater Minnesota with 30 schools members. Pine River-Backus is one of the founding members.
Pine River-Backus and Pequot Lakes are registered members of the FIRST multinational robotics competition. Each year in January, FIRST announces a new game for which teams must build a compatible robot. The game takes place on a 50-foot field with three teams on one team competing against another team of three.
To prepare for the annual competition, teams attend FIRST events as well as optional competitions to test their robots.
The 2021 event was a rerun / continuation of the 2020 game, which was cut short by COVID-19 mitigation efforts.
Pine River-Backus’ 2020-2021 squad included Maranda Altepeter, Camryn Good and Alexa Tuchtenhagen, as well as coaches Mike Shetka and Andrew Rudlang. Other adult mentors included Tony Andrys, Ryan Hunt, Jake Shetka and Les McCoys.