Robotics teams test skills at Week Zero

The Week Zero competition Saturday at Nevis School featured 20 teams. Nevis 3102 team members Reese Kline and Michael Wegscheid, along with mentor Mckenzie Harris worked together behind the barricade. “Team 3102 was part of the red alliance collecting power cells(yellow balls) from the loading bay, the short red and white section,” Wegsheid said. Blue alliance robot 6453 was trying to score in their alliance's power port, the tall blue and white tower, along with the robot in the bottom left corner. Photos by Lorie Skarpness/Enterprise.

After working countless hours building their robots to compete in this year’s challenge “Infinite Recharge,” 20 teams from Minnesota and North Dakota traveled to Nevis School Saturday for a chance to take their robots on the field against other teams in mock competitions before heading to regionals.

The Week Zero event began with a drivers meeting, followed by a mentors meeting and a T3 Ladies Outreach meeting challenging female bias in STEM.

Once the scrimmage rounds started, Tiger Arena was transformed into a challenge course where red and blue teams competed in front of bleachers packed with fans.

The Nevis Tech-No-Tigers team has 27 members, including 14 seniors.

Senior Sierra Wroolie said this year’s week zero was definitely one to remember.


“Though the 12 hour set-up through the power outage left many of us exhausted on Friday, it was worth it on Saturday,” she said. “We saw success with our robot, from our first hang to seeing our bot score in auto. We also saw tremendous success with our T3 Ladies outreach event, lead by Nicole Bayman and Mackenzie Mitchell. It brought about serious conversations about women in STEM and not only the struggles they face, but the progress that has already been made. The six strenuous weeks of preparing were worth it, and I am very excited to see how we compete at Duluth.”

“Week Zero was a great success,” Nevis mentor Kay Netteberg said. “It gave northern tier teams an opportunity to test and refine the elements of their robots. Moving forward, we identified things that worked well, and areas that need some improvement. We are very pleased with our robot's ability to hang and spin the wheel. In the next two weeks, we will fine tune and adjust our robot so that it is ready for competition March 5-7 in Duluth. At that time our Chairman's team will also be sharing their presentation with the event judges, as a reflection of everything that our team does in our school and community. Following the Duluth Competition, we have a week off then we will be competing in Milwaukee WI March 19-21. Our team of 29 kids, is an amazing group of people, with unique skill sets! We are looking forward to a great competition season with them!”

Kayla Rockensock is one of four female members of the Menahga Gigabots team. A freshman at Menahga High School, this is her first year in robotics and this is her report about Week Zero.

Around 8 am we arrived at Nevis High School for FIRST Robotics Week Zero. It is a meet up of a bunch of different schools to practice using their robot and to run through all the different mechanisms the correct way.

At the start there is time to finish adding the last parts of the robot on or to keep building and improving the robot for the upcoming scrimmage. Each team has their own designated area to have their set up and robot. Each team has their own way of building their robot and their own designs or ideas so each robot there is different.


There have been successes and failures today of many of the teams robots and there still is a lot to work on and improve. But this has given us all a chance to see what we can do to improve and what we can do to make our robot and our team better.

“We are proud of our robotics team,” Menahga robotics coach Nichole Weston said. “Our team has grown in size and wisdom. They work hard together and their strengths compliment each other. Our next stop is Duluth for regionals in March.”

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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