Area robotics teams gain recognition

The Northern Minnesota Robotics Conference was represented by six teams in the state tournament for high school robotics.

RoboticsCass Lake-BenaCoachesand Student AwardState Level.jpg
The conference recognized Linsey Strand and Matthew Wendland, coaches from Cass Lake-Bena High School for their accomplishments, and student Caraira Jensen, Cass Lake-Bena High School, for design.

The Northern Minnesota Robotics Conference congratulated all of the teams and coaches who represented the region at the Minnesota State High School League Robotics Tournament.

This was the 11th such state tournament for high school robotics in Minnesota. It returned again over the weekend to the University of Minnesota at Williams Arena with 36 teams participating.

The conference was represented by six teams in the tournament. They included team No. 2883 F.R.E.D. from Warrorad, team No. 3134 the Accelerators from Cass Lake, team No. 3297 Full Metal Jackets from Perham, team No. 5172 Gator Robotics from Greenbush-Middle River, team No. 5653 Iron Mosquitoes from Babbitt, and team No. 5913 Patriotic from Pequot Lakes.

This tournament featured 19 teams fresh off their World Championships Tournament in Houston just a couple of weeks ago. Two of the teams made it into the finals. This ensured high levels of competition at this event. No team would go undefeated and all but one team in the state tournament would end up with at least multiple losses during the eight qualification rounds. At the end of the qualification round on Saturday area teams found themselves ranked in the following order.

  • 7th — No. 5913 Patriotics (Rec. 6-2)
  • 17th — No. 2883 F.R.E.D (Rec. 4-4)
  • 15th — No. 5172 Gator Robotics (Rec. 3-5)
  • 28th — No. 3297 Full Metal Jackets (Rec. 4-4)
  • 25th — No. 5653 Iron Mosquitoes (Rec. 3-5)
  • 31st — No. 3134 The Accelerators (Rec. 3-5)
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In robotics, teams compete in alliances made up of three teams. In this instance the top four seeds choose two other teams to compete with them going into the finals. This is essentially a draft in which the higher seed gets the first pick and so on. Then the No. 1 Alliance faces off against the No. 4 Alliance and No. 2 vs. No. 3. It is run the same as most double elimination tournaments with the only exception being that the final championship matchup is a two out of three set.


Once the Alliance selections were complete three Northern Minnesota Robotics Conference member teams moved on into the playoff rounds. The No. 1 Seed Alliance led by No. 4102 C.I.S. from Becker drafted two of our teams onto their alliance. They first selected team No. 5913 Patriotics from Pequot Lakes and then completed their group choosing team No. 5172 Gator Robotics from Greenbush-Middle River.

The other conference team that found themselves in the playoffs for their first time was team No. 5653 Iron Mosquitoes. They were the final pick of the No. 2 Seed Alliance led by No. 6045 from Sartell along with their first pick team No. 2052 out of New Brighton.

This year's playoffs narrative seemed to be one of upsets. This was evident from the opening round as both the No. 1 and No. 2 seeds suffered losses pushing them down into the lower bracket. This set the table for a battle to secure a minimum third place finish and chance to stay alive. It would be the No. 1 seed featuring Pequot Lakes and Greenbush-Middle River coming out on top. With the third largest score of the tournament at that point putting up an impressive 174 points. This resulted in sending home their fellow conference member No. 5653 from Northeast Range High School with a fourth place finish. Final score 174-159.

The No. 1 seed would be a single win away from the finals and a chance at a rematch against the No. 4 seeds. However first they would face the No. 3 seed featuring teams from Fairmont, Cold Spring, and Cokato. This match would result in the largest offensive output by two teams in the entire tournament.

Posting a final score of 185-184. The final result would mean a one point loss for Pequot Lakes and Greenbush-Middle River. However it did secure them a third place finish for the state tournament.

Outstanding Engineering and Design

On the judged awards side of the event a conference team found the winners circle. There were three teams in the tournament that were awarded special recognition for “Outstanding Engineering & Design.” This award was sponsored by Dunwoody College and also came with a $500 award for teams to put towards their robotics programs. Team No. 2883 F.R.E.D. from Warroad were deemed worthy of such recognition for their outstanding robot design and were one of these award recipients.

For just the second time ever during the state tournament coaches were recognized for their achievements by their peers. The state of Minnesota is divided up into eight sections, like most MSHSL activities, and each of these had two coaches recognized as the coaches of the year from each section.

Coach Ryan Linsday, Northeast Range High School, was recognized for his accomplishment in Section 7. The No. 5653 Iron Mosquitoes were in the playoffs for the first time.

The conference had the following coaches recognized for their accomplishments in their respective sections.


Section 7

  • Ryan Lindsay - Northeast Range High School — No.5653.

Section 8

  • Linsey Strand — Cass Lake-Bena High School — No. 3134/3275.
  • Matthew Wendland — Cass Lake-Bena High School —  No. 3134/3275.

This event also made history with the collaborative partnership of the Minnesota Robotics Coaches Association, which is a division of the Minnesota State High School Coaches Association. Minnesota Robotics Coaches Association’s efforts established and announced the first ever awards for students of the year at the state level elevating students in the sport of robotics to that of their peers in other activities.
There are six categories in which coaches can nominate those students who excelled in their areas.

These categories are Programming, Business, Design, Build Team, Competition, and Leadership.

The conference stated it was pleased to have the following students from its ranks recognized for their accomplishments.

  • Design — Caraira Jensen —  Cass Lake-Bena High School — No. 3134.
  • Programming — Abrianna Hanson — Thief River Falls, Lincoln High School — No. 3277.

Abrianna Hanson
Abrianna Hanson is Thief River Falls Robotics Student of the Year 2023, Programming.<br/>

"On behalf of all member teams and students, the Northern Minnesota Robotics Conference stated it would like to congratulate all state level participants, winners, and nominees," organizers stated in a news release.

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