Northland robotics teams to compete at DECC

The tournaments are free and open to the public to watch. They start at 9 a.m. Friday.

Members of robotics teams react at the end of a match in 2020.
Steve Kuchera / File / Duluth News Tribune

DULUTH — The Duluth Entertainment Convention Center is set to be taken over by robots and their enthusiastic creators for the next few days. Students from around Minnesota and Wisconsin are set to compete in two simultaneous FIRST robotics tournaments: the Lake Superior and Northern Lights regionals.

Duluth FIRST Robotics planning committee co-chair Stephanie Fehringer said it should be "a good year."

"We have 24 teams in Northeastern Minnesota and 120 overall. ... One thing that's different this year is that they've had a chance to practice on a playing field," Fehringer said. "The Arrowhead Robotics Coalition have a practice field that they've been traveling around the region to give teams a chance to try things out."

This field is not the same as this year's game, but does give students a chance to try out their bots on a field other than their school practice areas.

This year's game is a cooperative effort, where teams will be placed on alliances of three and asked to complete a series of tasks in order to "charge up" the playing field. After the initial rounds, teams will form their own alliances with others for the next rounds of play.


"So you get a chance to watch the other teams and see which you might want to make an alliance with," Fehringer said. "What strengths do you have and what might you need to get more points."

The game is assembled Wednesday by volunteers, who also make sure the tournaments run smoothly Friday and Saturday.

The tournaments are free and open to the public to watch. They start at 9 a.m. Friday.

Here's a rundown of some local schools set to compete this week:

Northern Lights Regional

Duluth East High School

A rolling robot approaches a wooden playing ramp.
The Duluth East Daredevil's robot, "Artifact," rolls along at a practice.
Contributed / Duluth East Daredevils

Team name: Duluth East Daredevils 2512

Rookie year: 2008

Robot name: Artifact

3 fun facts:


  • They have the most air tanks ever on their robot this year.
  • The team was originally called the Duluth Penguins.
  • Since 2010, all of their robot's names have started with the letter A.

Where to follow online: Facebook at Daredevils2512 , Twitter at FRC2512, Instagram at frc2512.

Marshall School, Duluth

A small red and silver rolling robot.
This unnamed bot was created by students at Marshall School in Duluth.
Contributed / TopperBots

Team name: TopperBots 4230

Rookie year: 2012

Robot name: To be determined

3 fun facts:

  • The team added 40 pounds of weights to this year's robot.
  • This is the team's first time competing in the Northern Lights Regional.
  • The unnamed robot can fit in the back of a GMC Terrain.

Where to follow online: Facebook at MarshallFRC.

Lake Superior Regional

Denfeld High School

Denfeld Nation Automation 2023
Denfeld Nation Automation's 2023 team members.
Contributed / Denfeld Nation Automation

Team name: Denfeld Nation Automation (DNA) 4009

Rookie year: 2012


Robot name: To be determined

3 fun facts:

  • All of their robots, apart from 2020, have been named after a mentor on the team. Last year's robot was named Davious for their lead mentor, Dave.
  • The team manufactures many of their own parts such as metal plates and weld their own robot frames.
  • The team will be at the Duluth Depot STEAM festival May 13 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. to volunteer and show off their robot to kids.

Where to follow online: Facebook at Denfeld Nation Automation 4009 , Instagram at dna4009.

Barnum High School

Barnum Bombatrons
The 2023 Barnum robotics team, the Bombatrons, are preparing for the Lake Superior Regional.
Contributed / Bombatrons

Team name: Bombatrons 6160

Rookie year: 2016

Robot name: Sideswipe

3 fun facts:

  • This year's robot is the most complicated robot the team has ever built.
  • At 27 students, this is the largest team the Bombatrons have had.
  • For the first time in eight seasons, the team will attend a second regional event in Wisconsin.

Where to follow online: Facebook at Barnum Bombatrons , Instagram at Bombatrons.


Chisholm High School

A group of six people wearing matching black team shirts with a yellow logo with a robot wearing a cape.
Chisholm High School's robotics team, Wayne Enterprises Inc., show off their matching team T-shirts. Back, from left: coach Jamey Johnson, Gavin Thompson, CJ Robbins and Aiden Caudullo; and front: Isaac Fleming and Abigail Simpson. Not pictured: Teresa Allen and Henry Bechthold.
Contributed / Wayne Enterprises Inc.

Team name: Wayne Enterprises Inc. 8836

Rookie year: 2022

Robot name: Brian J. Alfred

3 fun facts:

  • Most of the members on the team are also in drama.
  • The team absorbed the Hibbing High School team this year.
  • A very young team with two juniors, a sophomore and three freshmen.

Where to follow online: Facebook at Chisholm Bluestreaks.

Carlton High School

Members of the robotics team stand around their robot in matching t-shirts.
Members of the Doomsday Dogs at Carlton High School pose with their robot, Eugene. From left: Andrew Brunfelt, Rochelle DeLovely, Ben Talarico, Alexis Coy, Mike Harper, Karysa Brown and Robert Larson. Not pictured: Jasper Crane, Dawson Laveau, Zander Hall, Jazmyn Martini, Ayden Ojibway and Devin Goodman.
Contributed / Doomsday Dogs

Team name: Doomsday Dogs 7041

Rookie year: 2018, first year back since pandemic

Robot name: Eugene


3 fun facts:

  • The robot is from Germany.
  • The entire team is new, including coaches, except for one returning student, Rochelle DeLovely, the team captain, who got the team up and running again.
  • The team is small, but eager to get back into competing.

Where to follow online: Facebook at Carlton Robotics.

Cloquet High School

Over 30 people on the Cloquet Ripsaw Robotics team pose for a team photo.
The Cloquet High School RipSaw Robotics team has over 30 members.
Contributed / RipSaw Robotics

Team name: RipSaw Robotics

Rookie year: 2019

Robot name: Edith Clarke

3 fun facts:

  • The robot is named Edith Clarke because she was the first woman to graduate with an electrical engineering degree and invented a graphical calculator. There are three women on the drive team this year.
  • The team focuses on working hard, having fun, building their brand, business and robots.
  • "We focus on FIRST and our team's core values, leading to us winning the safety awards (2020) and the imagery awards (2022). It has also inspired us this year to host STEM camps for our middle school community and started a podcast, 'Rambling with RipSaw.'"

Where to follow online: Facebook at RipSaw Robotics , Instagram at ripsawrobotics.

Northeast Range, Mesabi East and Ely Memorial High School

A robotics team poses with a donation check and their robot.
The Iron Mosquitos pose withe a donation check for $2,500. The team is made up of students from Northeast Range, Ely and Mesabi East high schools and one student from Virginia.
Contributed / Iron Mosquitos

Team name: Iron Mosquitos 5653


Rookie year: 2015

Robot name: To be determined

3 fun facts:

  • Students from four schools are on the team: Northeast Range, Mesabi East, Ely Memorial High School and one student from Virginia.
  • The school districts' areas cover 1 million acres.
  • The team name is a comes from being a multi-school team on the Iron Range.

Where to follow online: Instagram at ironmosquitos.

Esko High School

Members of the robotics team gather inside a classroom.
Members of the SubZero Robotics team at Esko High School gather for a team photo.
Contributed / SubZero Robotics

Team name: SubZero Robotics 5690

Rookie year: 2015

Robot name: Aftermath

3 fun facts:

  • The team won the Rookie Inspiration award in 2015.
  • The team prioritizes mental health.
  • The team is split into eight departments in order to run effectively and efficiently.

Where to follow online: Facebook at SubZero Robotics.

William Kelley High School in Silver Bay

A blue and silver competition robot bearing the numbers 3267.
A yet-to-be-named robot created by the members of the Mariner Robotics team at Silver Bay's William Kelley High School.
Contributed / Mariner Robotics

Team name: Mariner Robotics 3267

Rookie year: 2010

Robot name: To be determined

3 fun facts:

  • The team is young.
  • The robot is simplified.
  • The mentors are experienced.

Where to follow online: Facebook at WKHS Mariner Robotics.

Two Harbors High School

Members of the robotics team wear matching yellow and black shirts and pose around their blue and silver robot.
Members of the Rock Solid Robotics Team at Two Harbors High School pose with their robot, whose name is yet to be determined.
Contributed / Rock Solid Robotics

Team name: Rock Solid Robotics 4656

Rookie year: 2013

Robot name: To be determined

3 fun facts:

  • They have cut over 20 parts on the school's water jet CNC cutter.
  • This is the team's 10th anniversary. The team was Rookie All Stars and went to the world competition.
  • The robot can autonomously drive in a direction, get pushed off course and using an on board gyroscope, and navigate its way back.

Where to follow online: Facebook at Rock Solid 4656 .

Proctor High School

A tall silvery robot sits on a tool desk.
Proctor Frostbyte's 2023 robot Clawd sits on a worktop table.
Contributed / Frostbyte Robotics

Team name: Frostbyte Robotics 6047

Rookie year: 2016

Robot name: Clawd

3 fun facts:

  • There is nothing square about this bot.
  • Everything is a little bit crooked.
  • Clawd is quirky, just like the team that built him.

Where to follow online: Facebook at Frostbyte Robotics #6047.

Other Northland teams at regionals

Here's a peek at the goings on before, during and after the ceremony Friday, June 2.
A recommendation for president will go to the Board of Trustees of the Minnesota State Colleges and Universities on June 21.
The law makes Minnesota the first state to issue benefits to hourly school workers laid off after the school year ends on a permanent basis.
Trips to the Minnesota State Fair and the Renaissance Festival are on the docket later this year, writes Erin Bates.
"Here at Barnum Community Education, we are offering a bunch of memory-making summer classes! We have variety of classes from pickleball to T-ball to karate to gun safety," writes Roxy Olsen-Hurst.
During the Awards Convocation on May 10, students received awards and scholarships.
Stephanie Hammitt was the college’s president from 2019 to 2022. She died in November after a battle with cancer.
The board also approved the purchase of a new scoreboard to meet MSHSL shot clock requirements.
The new strategic plan aims to attract more families to the district as it pursues a one-site K-12 school.
A compromise approved Monday by a committee of Minnesota lawmakers would, with a few exceptions, bar public schools from using American Indian mascots

Teri Cadeau is a general assignment and neighborhood reporter for the Duluth News Tribune. Originally from the Iron Range, Cadeau has worked for several community newspapers in the Duluth area for eight years including: The Duluth Budgeteer News, Western Weekly, Weekly Observer, Lake County News-Chronicle and occasionally, the Cloquet Pine Journal. When not working, she's an avid reader and crafter.
What To Read Next
Get Local