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W-WG’s robotics team battles for second-place finish at state competition

The Westbrook-Walnut Grove robotics team are all smiles with the second-place plaque it earned during the May 18 state robotics competition. Pictured are (front, from left): Houa Yang, Joel Byers, Colton Carter and Mason Byers. Back: Anna Lee, TJ Xiong, Jonathan Kleeberger, assistant advisor Lori Lee and advisor Doug Lee. Not pictured: Kaleb Curry and mentors Bruce Byers and Doug Kleeberger. (Special to The Globe)

MINNEAPOLIS — This year’s Westbrook-Walnut Grove robotics season has been one for the record books.

Not only was this the first year the school’s program has qualified for the state competition in its five-year existence, the team posted an impressive second-place finish at the May 18 Minnesota State High School League state robotics competition in Minneapolis. There were more than 220 robotics teams across the state participating this year, which all competed in the same class regardless of student body size.  

The W-WG team entered the state competition as the 20th seed. A successful finish in the first qualifying round propelled the team to seventh place. Another victory in the second qualifying round advanced the team to second, where they remained for a bit until experiencing its first loss right before lunch.

The setback necessitated repairs to the robot’s drive chain and wheel, which the students fixed over the lunch hour.

The team found more success after lunch and fluctuated in the rankings before posting its final second-place finish.

The team was coached by Doug Lee and assisted by Lori Lee. Parent mentors included Doug Kleeberger and Bruce Byers.

The students on the team include: Mason Byers, Kaleb Curry, Joel Byers, Jonathon Kleeberger, Colton Carter, TJ Xiong, Houa Yang and Anna Lee.