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Northome robotics headed to state again by winning both divisions

The Northome Crazy 8's1 / 2
The Northome Elementary robotics team.2 / 2

The Northome Robotics teams continued their very successful tradition at the Northern Minnesota First Lego League Regional Robotics Tournament Dec. 11.

For the fourth straight year, Northome qualified a team for the state competition. This year, however, both of Northome's teams qualified for a trip to St. Paul in January.

In Division 1, the Robotic Scientist team of Alex Fahey, Angel Frenzel, Peter Schneider and Andrew Stueven (all rookie fourth graders) competed well in all the areas. Their combined score was the tops of the 10 teams in the younger division (grades 4-6).

In addition, the team won the plaque for the best research project.

The team scored 91.5 out of 100. The team explored ways of improving cavity treatments.

In division 2, the Crazy 8's team of Michael Chaffin, Rachel Fahey, Allysa Fisher, Jeanette Frenzel, Nichole Frenzel, Casey Gross, Brigette Williams and Michaela Williams, also had a very good day of competition.

Their combined score was the best of the nine teams in their division (grades 7-9).

The Crazy 8's not only won the top spot, they earned two plaques.

The first one was for their programming. The team earned 96 out of a possible 100 points.

The second plaque was for winning the head-to-head competition. The Crazy 8's registered the high score of the trournament with a 235 point run and earned the top seed for the tournament. The team put together three more good runs to win the competition.

Nineteen teams braved the cold and possibe snow and made the trek to Northome School from all over north central and north east Minnesota.

The tournament is divided up into four areas. The team must build a robot and program it to complete missions on a game board. The team has two and a half minutes to complete as many missions as possible.

The second area judged is called technical. In this area, judges look at the construction of the robot and how it functions. The team is also judged on how they set up their missions. Finally, the judges look at the programs that are used and how well the team designed the programs.

In addition to the robot aspect of the tournament, each team must do a research project and give a five minute presentation on a topic related to the theme of the tournament.

Finally, the teams also compete in head-to-head runs with their robots on the mission game board tables.

Throughout the entire day, teams are also judged on how well they work as a team.

The kids did a great job all day long. They have put in a lot of work these past three and a half months.

Award winners for the day were as follows:

Division 1 (going to state): First place were the Northome Robotic Scientists (Koochiching Co. 4-H); second were South St. Louis 4-H Robo Geeks (St. Louis Co. 4-H); third were the Grand Rapids Thunderbots (a "neighborhood" team of students who stuck together after moving up from Cohasset Elementary, which only goes to fourth grade.

Award winners were as follows:

For Research, the Northome Robotic Scientists; for Innovative Design, the Grand Rapids Thunderbots Design-International Falls (Koochiching Co. 4-H); for Programming were the Grand Rapids Thunderbots Judges Award-Cohasset Elementary Lego Robobrainiacs (all fourth graders, coach's first year); for Teamwork were the Robo Geeks and for Robot Performance (head to head) were the ISD 318 Community Ed (team 6579 based at RJE Middle School in Grand Rapids) and the Spirit Award, (just one given for entire tournament) went to Division I Clearbrook-Gonvick Bears. Given to the team that stands out in the "above and beyond" category for exemplifying FLL value of "gracious professionalism."

Division 2 (going to state) winners were: First, the Northome Crazy 8's (Eagleview Community Foundation/Northome School sponsored)' second, the 4est H'ers (Itasca County 4-H); Research, the 4est H'ers; for Innovative Design, the Hibbing High School Bluejackets Design, the 4est H'ers; for Programming, the Northome Crazy 8's; the Judges Award went to ISD 318 Community Ed. (team 6583 based at RJE Middle School in Grand Rapids); the Teamwork award went to Fractal 5 + Atom (South St. Louis County 4-H) and for Robot Performance (head to head), the Northome Crazy Eights.