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Robotics Season Continues for Westonka Tonkabots

Robotics Season Continues for Westonka Tonkabots
The Tonkabots at the world competition in Houston.
Click on the above image for more photos from the event

May 2, 2024 — The Mound Westonka Tonkabots FIRST Robotics Team competed in the world competition in Houston, Texas in April for the first time ever. The team earned the opportunity to compete by earning a first-place finish at the 2024 Northern Lights Regional Competition.

The Tonkabots competed in the “Galileo” division at the FIRST Championship, where they finished 22nd of 75 teams. Over 600 teams from 16 countries and 48 states were represented in the competition. Tonkabots were also chosen to receive a special peer award, the “Stellar Single Award,” for their triple trap abilities.

In addition to the competition itself, there were a variety of workshops and classes in Houston for teams to attend, as well as an "innovation fair" with countless booths manned by manufacturers, educators and innovators, including the Disney Imagineers and NASA, to name a couple. The number of learning opportunities, connections to be made, and inspiration on site throughout the event was staggering.

Tonkabots to Compete at State Robotics Tournament

The team’s competition season is not over yet. The Tonkabots have been invited to be one of 36 teams to compete in a state competition on Saturday, May 4, where they have been ranked third. Robots and their student-human counterparts will take to the floor at Williams Arena on the University of Minnesota campus in Minneapolis on May 4, for the Minnesota State High School League’s 2024 Robotics State Tournament. The event begins with qualifying rounds at 8:30 a.m., and concludes with an awards ceremony at approximately 5:45 p.m. The event is free and open to the public. 

“This has been an amazing year, and we are not done yet,” said advisor Dale Kimball. “I am so proud of how the team has done this year and everyone's dedication to the program.”

“We had a great group of adult mentors who donated so much time this year teaching new skills to students,” Kimball added. “Without them, the Tonkabots would not have been able to achieve the success that they have this year.”

The FIRST Robotics Competition combines the excitement of sport with the rigors of science and technology. The competition inspires innovation and leadership by teaching STEM, teamwork, and problem-solving skills through engaging, hands-on robotics challenges. Teams of 10 or more students are challenged to design a team “brand,” hone teamwork skills, and build and program a 120-pound robot to perform prescribed tasks against a field of competitors. To learn more, visit the FIRST Robotics website.