Nevis robotics showcased at MSBA

Some members of the team set up the field and gave demonstrations at the Minnesota School Boards Association convention.

Nevis 3102, at right, was one of the high school teams who brought their robots to demonstrate what they had learned on the playing field during the MSBA convention.
Contributed / Kay Netteberg

Nevis robotics mentor Olaf Netteberg and some of his students set up the field and gave demonstrations at the Minnesota School Boards Association convention at the Minneapolis Convention Center earlier this month.

Five team members from Nevis robotics team 3102 attended, along with mentors Kay and Olaf Netteberg: Alex Grundeen, Kael Netteberg, Owen DeWitt, Kiana Bjorkstrand and Natile Profitt.

The Northern Minnesota Robotics Conference (NMRC) provided the 27-by-54-foot field, along with six robots for school board members and members from throughout Minnesota to drive.

“I’m very proud of the representation of Nevis School,” board chair Karrin Lindow said at Monday night’s school board meeting. “It was very impressive.”

Sharing their love of robotics

Members of Nevis Robotics team 3102 who shared their knowledge at the Minnesota School Boards Association convention earlier this month were, from left, Alex Grundeen, Kael Netteberg, Owen DeWitt, Kiana Bjorkstrand and Natile Profitt.
Contributed / Kay Netteberg

“Not only was there an opportunity to drive the robot, but there were tons of conversations between the adults attending the conference and the 21 students from robotics teams who participated,” Olaf said. “Students were on the spot being interviewed about robotics, and they were very engaged. They did an outstanding job.”


Nevis robotics students have participated in the convention before, but this is the first time they had a field at the convention to demonstrate how the robot competes.

“NMRC provided financing and the field,” he said.

Netteberg said students who attended gained a lot from the experience. “Their understanding of communication, networking, being able to answer questions about your activity when talking to a bunch of adults who are strangers and make decisions in schools all over the state.”

He said the experience will also help students working on the Impact award.

Getting ready to compete

This year’s competition is “Charged Up.”

The Week Zero competition will be held at the Bemidji High School on Saturday, Feb. 18.

“We have a six-week build season and we’re already two weeks in,” Netteberg said. “We’re prototyping, conceptualizing, attempting different theories to solve the problem and then building them,” he said. “Right now we’re still kind of in the prototyping phase, but with some specific details and measurements.”

Team 3102 has two road trips to regional competitions in March.


“We will be in Arkansas the first week of March competing against teams from nine different states and in Iowa the fourth week in March competing against teams from seven different states,” he said. “Based on our performance, we could potentially get an invitation to Houston for Worlds in April. We can also earn points to get an invitation to the state tournament which involves the top 36 teams.”

A food service company at the convention offered to help support the team by providing food when they travel.

The robotics team recently received a $2,500 grant from the Gene Haas Foundation. “We’re constantly pursuing funding,” he said.

Lorie Skarpness has lived in the Park Rapids area since 1997 and has been writing for the Park Rapids Enterprise since 2017. She enjoys writing features about the people and wildlife who call the north woods home.
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