Eight teams advance to State from NCTC Robotics Tournament

THIEF RIVER FALLS, Minn.- On Saturday, January 14 NCTC hosted 49 teams from Northwest Minnesota at the Pioneers Robotics VRC Tournament in Thief River Falls. Prior to the tournament, the teams designed and built robots using VEX Robotics equipment. Every year a new challenge with different game objects and new rules is released in April. This year’s challenge theme was called Starstruck. Teams analyze the challenge and set to work designing, building and programming robots. NCTC Electronics Technology Instructor Andrew Dahlen had this to say, “Each robot is unique as there are no building instructions. It is amazing to see various robot designs and game strategies play out at a tournament.”

Nine teams from this tournament advanced to the Minnesota State Championship Tournament on February 3rd and 4th in St Cloud, MN. The DC Knights (7458G) and the Marvel Knights (7458F) from Fisher, MN and an Green Wave Robotics Team (9821D) from East Grand Forks, MN earned the title of Tournament Champions. In a VEX Robotics Tournament teams work together in an alliance to outscore an opposing alliance. The Fisher/East Grand Forks alliance defeated an alliance comprised of teams from Bagley (4003A) , Fosston (6024B) and East Grand Forks (9821E) in the final match. All of the teams in the final match received an invitation to the State Championship Tournament.

VEX Robotics Competitions include a number of awards which are determined by a panel of volunteer judges. The majority of the judges are alumni of NCTC’s electronics technology program and work at DigiKey Electronics as engineers and technicians . The judges evaluated each team based on an interview, the content of their engineering notebook, and performance of their robots in the tournament. Grygla’s Iron Charges (4149G ) earned the highest honor at the tournament, the Excellence Award. Lancaster’s Cattle Town Crew (3864B) received the Design Award. Lancaster and Grygla also advanced to the State Championship Tournament.

A VEX Robotics tournament also features a Robot Skills Challenge in which one robot operates in a 60 second solo mission. The Bagley (4003A) team qualified for the state tournament twice by achieving the highest skills score and as a tournament finalist.

The Pioneers Robotics VRC Tournament is one of a series of VEX Robotics Competitions taking place internationally throughout the year. The VEX Robotics Competition is the world’s fastest growing competitive robotics program for middle schools, high schools and colleges around the world, with more than 16,000 teams from 40 countries that participate in more than 1,300 VEX Robotics Competition events worldwide.

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 or call 1.800.959.6282.