The Alexandria Discovery Middle School (DMS) robotics team members took part in a tournament this past Saturday at Eagan High School and described their experience as a roller coaster of emotions.

That roller coaster ended on a high note as the DMS team, FIRST Tech Challenge (FTC) Team 7799 Autobotics, qualified for the State FTC Tournament on February 22.

The robot drivers were Logan Filipiak and Luke Tollefson. Other team members include Sam Gilbertson, Matthew Donley, Brady Myhr, Bethany Odden, Dylan Piepho, Noah Huss and Jeremy Floding.

FTC is a part of FIRST Robotics, which has a team at Jefferson High School (JHS) in Alexandria. The robots and game field of FTC are smaller to appeal to younger students.

This year’s FTC game was called “Block Party.” Teams were tasked with building robots that could pick up yellow blocks and score them into baskets. Robots could also hang on a pole or raise a flag.

Teams had to keep an engineering notebook that chronicled their progress throughout the build.

At the competition, FTC Team 7799 won the Judges’ Award. They also finished in third place for the Inspire Award, which is given to the best overall team.

This is the first year that Alexandria has had an FTC team. It was supported and mentored by numerous JHS Robotics team members, including Bryce Klang, Kacy McCormick, Lacey Werman, Karl Santelman, Thomas Pederson and Heidi Larson.

Local engineers Dan Floding from Douglas Machine and Mike Gilbertson from Massman Automation Designs were also mentors.

The FTC team was founded with a donation from the Alexandria Packaging Machine Manufacturers Consortium consisting of Aagard, Massman, Douglas Machine, Alexandria Technical and Community College and Alexandria Area Economic Development Commission.

For more information, visit or e-mail Head Coach Bydlon at