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Crunch time for robotics

Joey Pate works on the Mecanum wheels of the robot. These unique wheels are designed to move the robot in any direction. The wheels were developed by a Swedish engineer in 1973. Photo by Dana Pavek, WDC Schools

Wadena-Deer Creek's robotics team is working feverishly to get their robot finished by their Feb. 19 deadline.

Working with Coach Mike Shrode and mentors, students began working on their robot in January and have six weeks to design, build, program and test their robot to meet the season's engineering challenge, which will require the robot to propel flying discs into distant slots, then attempt to scale a pyramid. This is WDC's third year participating in robotics.

WDC students meet after school and sometimes into the evening hours Monday through Friday and on Sundays to build the robot in Shrode's classroom at the middle/high school. The robotics regional competition is March 7-10 at Duluth Entertainment Convention Center. More than 100 teams are expected to participate.

The 2013 robotics team members in grades 8-12 include: Henry Arrigoni, Lacena Brown, Drew Larson, Adam Leverson, Joey Pate, Nick Torkkola, Ashley Tuttle, Derek Garcia, Madeleine Hinojos, Maizie Miller, Joey Najjar, Ethan Benson, Bryce Wolff, Derek Plautz and Tyler Scott.

The purpose behind the First Robotics program is to inspire young people to be science and technology leaders, by engaging them in a mentor-based program that builds science, engineering and technology skills. The robotics program is also used to inspire innovation and communication.