What do we do?

Every year, we spend about a month and a half building a robot from scratch to participate in the FIRST Robotics Competition (or FRC), an internationally recognized program for high school students. On the first Saturday of January, FIRST, an organization that creates robotics competitions for students K-12, reveals the FRC game for the coming season in an event known as “kickoff”. At first glance, these games seem similar to any other sport; players may need to throw or transport game pieces (like balls or frisbees), perform athletic feats (like climbing), work with a team, and even play defense to score points and secure a victory. The key difference, however, is that the players must be robots. Teams therefore must build a new robot every year that can complete certain tasks and work with other robots to earn points. In the six weeks after kickoff, known as build season, we construct one such robot.

After that, we attend regional competitions. These typically take place over 2-3 days and comprise over 60 teams. The first matches that we play are qualification rounds, in which we are randomly assigned to an alliance with two other teams to play against another three-team alliance. The 8 individual teams that win the most matches in the qualification rounds then select two alliance partners each with which to compete in the playoffs. Teams that succeed in the playoff rounds qualify for one of two FRC International Championships.

We spend the rest of the year performing outreach, fundraising, and working with other teams. We frequently perform demos at local schools and events, and we have also served as instructors or mentors to youth interested in STEM. Additionally, we are affiliated with the St. Paul HUB, an alliance of St. Paul-area robotics teams.

What is FIRST?

FIRST is a program promoting STEM to students that was founded in 1992 in New Hampshire by engineer Dean Kamen. The amount of students participating in FIRST programs has grown to over 250,000 since then. There are currently more than 2,500 active teams across the United States and 15 other countries. The high school league, FIRST Robotics Competition (FRC) has more than 200 teams in Minnesota alone. FIRST Robotics is a Minnesota State High School League Sport, so team members can letter in robotics and teams can qualify for the Minnesota State Tournament.

“Our mission is to inspire young people to be science and technology leaders, by engaging them in exciting mentor-based programs that build science, engineering and technology skills, that inspire innovation, and that foster well-rounded life capabilities including self-confidence, communication, and leadership.”

– Dean Kamen


How do I join?

All are free to join! We accept everyone regardless of skill level and do not charge an entry fee! That being said, we only accept new members before build season begins on the first Saturday of January, and it is advisable to join well beforehand (ideally in September or October) as we require all members to attend at least two fundraising/outreach events if they wish to attend regional competitions. If extenuating circumstances prevent you from fulfilling these requirements, we can make accommodations, but please try to commit to the team by Autumn.