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Members of the Jefferson High School FIRST Robotics Team 3313 Mechatronics include (back row, left to right) Jesse Groettum, Ryan Johnson, Bryce Klang, Molly Schouweiler; (middle row) Matt Kleven (assistant coach), Jordan Roatch, Allen Odden, Kacy McCormick, Brandon Thoennes, Tyler Floding; (front row) Megan Boraas, Rachel Finazzo, Gabe Klepper, Steph Shimota, Jenna Seward, Jeremy Bydlon (head coach) and Luke Wilde.

Robotics Team wins entrepreneurship award

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The FIRST Robotics Team 3313 Mechatronics team from Jefferson High School (JHS) in Alexandria competed at the 10,000 Lakes Regional "Rebound Rumble" competition at the University of Minnesota-Twin Cities March 29-31.

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Each of the participating 128 teams had to design and create a robot that shot basketballs through hoops of varying heights within a limited time frame. The object was to get the robots to throw as many basketballs as possible through the hoops in the allotted time; balls thrown through higher hoops scoring more points.

The teams earned bonus points if they balanced their robots on pivoting bridges at the end of each match.

JHS team members had to build their robot in six weeks. They had a budget of $3,500 and had to follow a 100-page rule book. Their robot made three out of four programmed shots. Bryce Klang drove the robot throughout the competition.

The JHS team won the Entrepreneurship award, which is given to the team that wrote the best business plan. Jenna Seward prepared the 16-page business plan.

FIRST Robotics seeks to inspire high school students to pursue careers in science and technology by creating a fun, varsity sport-like experience.

It strives to teach students professionalism and cooperation. In addition, they are faced with real-life engineering situations within a time frame that cannot be altered.

For information, visit the Minnesota FIRST website at www.mnfirstregional.org.

The JHS FIRST Team 3313 Mechatronics will host a community night open house on Monday, April 30 from 7 to 9 p.m. at the JHS gym. Displays will be set up and attendees will have an opportunity to drive the robots.

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