The Owatonna High School robotics team, known as the "Rebel Alliance," is in Duluth this weekend in their first competition of the season. They will later compete in LaCrosse, WI and hope to reach the Minnesota State High School League competition or even the national event in Detroit, MI in April.

OHS has had a robotics team since 2012 and have about 30 students participating this season. Jobs on the team include design, programming, electrical and public relations. January 6 was the start of the season when teams found out the details of this year's competitions and began building their robots. Assembly had to be complete by February 19, which was an additional challenge this year due to the number of school days lost to the weather.

The Rebel Alliance works with a number of mentors from the community, which this year has included retired civil engineer Tony Louris, Dann Rypka from Wenger, Jeff Dusek and Matt Bartish with Bosch, Charlie Clausen with LeSueur Incorporated and Jeff Burke with Federated Insurance.

The team is coached by Val Rose and Clausen. Rose told the OHS student news source The Magnet, "One of the biggest goals this year was to have a second robot built and finally for a shadow robot." A second robot allows the team to test and fix problems since they can't modify the main robot after the February 19 "bag and tag" deadline until it used in competition. Rose reports that generous donations and fundraising made this possible.

This March 6-9 event is at the Duluth Entertainment and Convention Center. The competition in LaCrosse is April 3-6, 2019 at the LaCrosse Center.