For the third straight season, Owatonna High School's robotics team competes at the state meet Saturday, May 16, at Williams Arena. The team is putting the final touches on its robot this week.

Senior Donovan Simonson looks at the Minnesota State High School League event as a celebration, "State is actually quite different than regional or national competition. ... It's a lot less stressful. So it's a lot more fun to be able to hang out with others teams and people that share the same interests ... I look at state as more of a celebration for teams from Minnesota." Simonson says teams help each other "in the pits" sharing tools and equipment.

Thirty teams from around the state will use their robots to stack containers and fill them with pool noodles. "You can get the noodles inside of the container so you get extra points. You can also throw the noodles on the other team's side giving you points and also possibly getting the other robots trapped or stuck." Simonson told KRFO Radio that one of the adjustments the Owatonna team is doing is to improve on their robot's wheels so they don't get hung up on the noodles.

Robots cannot come into contact with each other this year, although they were able to for last year's competition.

Owatonna's team, known as the Rebel Alliance, has 41 students. They have a number of community mentors that assist them.

The state competition is held at Williams Arena at the University of Minnesota. Admission is free. Opening ceremonies are at 8:30AM on Saturday, May 16. Awards will be presented about 4:30PM.

Owatonna has qualified for state for a third straight year. Photo courtesy of the OHS robotics team.
Owatonna's robot will be controlled remotely by students. Photo courtesy of OHS robotics team.