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The Park High School robotics team took third place at the State Robotics Tournament on May 17 at the Williams Arena. (Submitted photo)

Park High School robotics team takes third at state

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Park High School robotics team takes third at state
Cottage Grove Minnesota 7584 80th Street South 55016

The Park High School robotics team took third place at the State Robotics Tournament on May 17 at the Williams Arena Sports Pavilion on the University of Minnesota campus in Minneapolis.

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Team 3883 Data Bits shared the third spot with team 5172 from Greenbush/Middle River, and with team 1816 from Edina High School.

The trio competed as part of a three-team alliance of schools, each with a custom-built robot that tossed or pushed a large beach ball into a goal.

Park students operated Sonic Hedge-Bot, a robot they designed and built at Park in January and February.

During the “autonomous” portion of the tournament, students pre-programmed Sonic Hedge-Bot to toss one ball, turn around, pick up a second ball and toss it.

“It was a very high-energy atmosphere,” said Mike Simurdiak, a chemistry teacher at Park and a robotics team advisor. “The kids were every excited.”

Park got off to a promising start, winning the first game of their semi-finals round. However, they dropped the next two in a best-of-three match against the eventual champions, the alliance of Woodbury Math & Science Academy, Irondale & Chanhassen schools. They went on to win a decisive victory in the third place match, however.

Park has a friendly rivalry with the robotics team from Math & Science Academy, Simurdiak said.

“We get along with them real well,” he said. “It’s real fun to compete against them. They’re fun to work with and against.”

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