Academics

Northland Hosts 2018 Pioneer VEX Robotics Tournament

December 18, 2018 – On December 1, 2018, Northland Community & Technical College hosted 50 teams from the region at the Pioneer VEX Robotics Tournament on the Thief River Falls campus. Vex Robotics is the world’s fastest growing competitive robotics program for middle schools, high schools and colleges around the world with over 11,000 teams from 45 countries competing in over 900 tournaments worldwide. Minnesota is home to nearly 400 teams.

The Gators from Badger, MN, paired with Green Wave Robotics of East Grand Forks, MN, won the tournament championship title defeating the other tournament finalist alliance consisting of team Error 404 from Sacred Heart High School, East Grand Forks, MN, and Galactic Halo of Warren Oslo Alvarado High School, Warren, MN. This result qualifies these four teams to advance to the Minnesota State Championship in St. Cloud, MN.

A number of other honors, determined by a panel of judges, were awarded based on a team interview, the content of their engineering notebook and performance of their robots in the tournament. The team Not the S.A.M.E. of St. Cloud, MN, was awarded the Excellence Award, the highest tournament honor. Other awards claimed:

  • The Iron Chargers, Grygla High School -- The Energy Award
  • Galactic Halo, Warren Oslo Alvarado High School -- The Innovate Award
  • The Gators, Badger, MN -- The Amaze Award
  • Error 404, Sacred Heart High School -- The Judges Award
  • The Eagles, Red Lake Falls, MN -- The Design Award

The Pioneer VEX Robotics Tournament also featured a Robot Skills Challenge requiring each robot to operate a 60-second solo mission. The weekend’s Robot Skills winner was The Gators from Badger, MN, with team Error 404 from Sacred Heart High School claiming runner-up honors.

Digi-Key Electronics, Thief River Falls, MN, was recognized as Sponsor of the Year. Many Digi-Key employees served as volunteers for the event.

Abby Klein from Albany, MN, was named Volunteer of the Year. Klein is a student in the Robotics program at Central Lakes College in Staples, MN. She assists with numerous summer camps and robotics tournaments throughout Minnesota and the region.


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Northland Community and Technical College (NCTC) is a comprehensive college with campuses in Thief River Falls, MN, and East Grand Forks, MN. NCTC also has an aerospace site in Thief River Falls, MN, and a satellite site in Roseau, MN. NCTC offers certificates, diplomas, transfer courses, two-year degrees (A.A.S., A.S., A.A.) in more than 80 areas of study, workforce training and education programs. NCTC is a member of Minnesota State, the fourth-largest system of two-year colleges and four-year universities in the United States, and is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission of the North Central Association. NCTC is an affirmative action, equal opportunity educator and employer. For more information about Northland Community & Technical College, visit www.northlandcollege.edu or call 1.800.959.6282.