RoboRiot forges stronghold

by Jeff Pederson Sheboygan Falls News Editor


THE SHEBOYGAN COUNTY ROBORIOT 3418 robotics team is set to compete in the FIRST Robotics regional competition March 24-26 at the University of Wisconsin- Milwaukee Panther Arena in Milwaukee. Falls News photo by Jeff Pederson THE SHEBOYGAN COUNTY ROBORIOT 3418 robotics team is set to compete in the FIRST Robotics regional competition March 24-26 at the University of Wisconsin- Milwaukee Panther Arena in Milwaukee. Falls News photo by Jeff Pederson On the heels of a stellar second place showing at the 2015 For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology (FIRST) Regional Robotics Competition in Milwaukee, the level of optimism and anticipation has hit new heights for the Sheboygan County RoboRiot 3418 high school robotics team.

The combined high school robotics team, which is based at Sheboygan Falls High School, is currently embarking on its seventh year with a student roster brimming with experience, enthusiasm, leadership and commitment.

The squad, which was formed in December 2009, features 42 students from six different Sheboygan County high schools, as well as home-schooled students.

The squad features 26 students from Sheboygan Falls High School and additional students from Sheboygan North, Random Lake, Plymouth, Warriner Academy and IDEAS high schools, as well as five home-schooled students.


MEMBERS OF THE SHEBOYGAN COUNTY ROBORIOT 3418 robotics team have been busy preparing their robot for the FIRST Robotics regional competition March 24-26 at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee Panther Arena in Milwaukee since Jan. 11. - Falls News photo by Jeff Pederson MEMBERS OF THE SHEBOYGAN COUNTY ROBORIOT 3418 robotics team have been busy preparing their robot for the FIRST Robotics regional competition March 24-26 at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee Panther Arena in Milwaukee since Jan. 11. - Falls News photo by Jeff Pederson In addition, 18 adult mentors from the corporate and educational field of engineering and electrical design are assisting this year’s team.

The squad has been building a solid base of success during its previous six seasons.

After earning a spot in the For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology (FIRST) Regional Robotics Competition quarterfinals in 2012, the Robo- Riot squad advanced to the semifinals in 2014, where it wound up fourth.


MEMBERS OF THE SHEBOYGAN COUNTY ROBORIOT 3418 robotics team prepare for the FIRST Robotics regional competition March 24-26 at the University of Wisconsin- Milwaukee Panther Arena in Milwaukee. Falls News photo ‘ by Jeff Pederson MEMBERS OF THE SHEBOYGAN COUNTY ROBORIOT 3418 robotics team prepare for the FIRST Robotics regional competition March 24-26 at the University of Wisconsin- Milwaukee Panther Arena in Milwaukee. Falls News photo ‘ by Jeff Pederson Thanks to last year’s head-turning second place showing, the RoboRiot squad heads into the 2016 For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology (FIRST) Regional Robotics Competition March 24-26 at UW-Milwaukee Panther Arena in Milwaukee as one of the favorites to claim the coveted overall team title and a berth in the FIRST Robotics World Championships at Edward Jones Stadium in St. Louis April 27-30.

“We were really happy with finishing second last year out of 53 teams from across the state and the country,” said junior Joe Liederbach, RoboRiot assembly and fabrication team captain. “That is the best our team has ever done and this year our goal is to do even better.


AFTER PLACING SECOND at last year’s FIRST Robotics regional competition, the Sheboygan County RoboRiot robotics team comes into the 2016 regional contest at the University of Wisconsin- Milwaukee Panther Arena in Milwaukee March 24-26 among the favorites to capture this year’s regional title and a spot in the FIRST Robotics World Champioships in St. Louis in April. - Falls News photo by Jeff Pederson AFTER PLACING SECOND at last year’s FIRST Robotics regional competition, the Sheboygan County RoboRiot robotics team comes into the 2016 regional contest at the University of Wisconsin- Milwaukee Panther Arena in Milwaukee March 24-26 among the favorites to capture this year’s regional title and a spot in the FIRST Robotics World Champioships in St. Louis in April. - Falls News photo by Jeff Pederson “We have some good momentum on our side and some good experienced team members this year, so I think our chances are good,” he said. “Our design team is strong and I think that is one of our major strengths that will hopefully push us to more success this year.”

According to RoboRiot Lead Mentor Dan Schlagenhaft, the team’s breakthrough performance last year didn’t come by accident.

“We built a second drive chassis for practice purposes last year, which really helped us out at the regional competition,” Schlagenhaft said. “We didn’t have the best robot in terms of function last year, but we had a great drive team and last year’s game, which involved staking crates, really placed a big emphasis on the proficiency of the driver.

“We got a break last year because we actually didn’t make the top eight based on points, but because one of the top eight teams picked another team in the top eight as part of their alliance, we got to move up from ninth to eighth and got into the finals that way,” he said. “We were definitely an underdog, but we took advantage of our opportunity and seized the moment to advance all the way to the final match.”

The 2016 regional contest, titled “First Stronghold” requires each team alliance’s robot to capture the opposing team’s castle tower by attacking strongholds and breaching fortifications in a game format that will require more back-and-forth offensive and defensive strategy and positioning than in previous years.

“I like the fact that we get to play offense and defense and that there is more of a strategic element and competitive aspect to this year’s contest,” Liederbach said. “We will have to negotiate several obstacles, such as uneven terrain and fortifications, to get to the other team’s stronghold and once we get there, we will need to shoot boulders to get into and capture the opposing team’s tower.

“It provides a different challenge than last year’s game, which was basically stacking storage containers,” he said. “I think this game adds a whole different element and will be more challenging due to the fact that we will be using multiple mechanisms to play offense and defense. I think they are looking to get more audience participation going in helping to set up the defense, which should be fun to have the crowd more involved.”

Liederbach says forming strong alliances with other teams in the regional competition plays a key role in a team’s success.

“The regional contest is a three-day competition with practice, qualifying matches and the final round matches,” Liederbach said. “”Each team is placed into 10 seeding qualification matches in which each of the teams is randomly placed into an alliance with two others teams.

“The qualification matches are held Friday and Saturday morning,” he said. “The top eight teams with the highest average point totals in the qualification matches move on to the finals on Saturday afternoon, comprised of the top eight teams. At that time, each team in the top eight gets to select two other teams as their alliance partners.”

Liederbach, who is eyeing a career in the aviation field, says the team provides great experience for those looking to enter the engineering profession.

“I know a lot of people on the team are looking to go into engineering or electronics and this gives them some great experience for that,” Liederbach said. “You can learn a whole lot doing this and it is a lot of fun too.”

Liederbach says this year’s RoboRiot team is preparing for the regional contest with one goal in mind.

“We are aiming for St. Louis,” Liederbach said. “The winning three-team alliance at the regional contest advances to St. Louis. That is our goal this year.”

Preparations for this year’s regional contest began on Jan. 11, following a worldwide FIRST Robotic Competition kickoff event at Kohler Co. on Jan. 9.

“All teams across the country learn about the details of the competition through a video animation piece that is broadcast on the second Saturday in January,” Schlagenhaft said. “After that, the teams gets down to work and it gets pretty intense.”

Teams have just six weeks to design, prototype, build and program the robot for mandatory completion on Feb. 23.

Team members have taken part in a demanding production schedule meeting four nights a week for three hours on weekdays and seven hours on Saturdays through the six-week build season.

“Six weeks is a short window to get everything done, but this group of kids has really taken ownership this year,” Schlagenhaft said. “They have done a great job of meeting deadlines. If they fall behind in a particular area, they put in extra time to make sure it gets done when it needs to get done, so the project stays on track.

“Every member of this team is committed to it,” he said. “It is not difficult to motivate this group. Sometimes that can be difficult, but that’s certainly not the case this year.”

The RoboRiot business team recently launched a new website, which can be viewed at at www.roboriotteam3418.org

“The business team is a support organization for RoboRiot 3418, which handles marketing, social media, website and overall communication,” Business Team Mentor Eric Liederbach of Sargento said. “They put a lot of work into the new website. They investigated and purchased new plug-in tools and designed and updated the website themselves.

“The business team also publishes a newsletter, organizes travel arrangements for the regional contest, manages the team budget, purchases equipment and materials for the robot, handles donations from vendors and sponsors,” he said. “The business team is nice because it gives non-engineering students a good outlet to participate on the team.”

For the fourth consecutive year, Sheboygan Falls High School has served as home base of the Robo- Riot team. This year the team has been making use of the brand new SFHS Innovation and Design Fab Lab facility.

“It has been really nice to have the new space to work in,” said Ed Hughes, RoboRiot mentor and SFHS technical education teacher. “The space we have to work in now is huge and with all the extra parts of this year’s game, it would have been tough for us to get everything done without having this new area.”

Schlagenhaft credited the Sheboygan Falls School District in supporting the efforts of the FIRST robotics program through an emphasis on the Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) initiative.

“Sheboygan Falls High School has always been very supportive of our team,” Schlagenhaft said. “They are continuing to invest in the STEM program and do a lot to help with the infrastructure of our program. They are starting a new engineering academy based in the new STEM fabrication lab, which is exciting.”

Hughes says a great deal of the success of the program can be attributed to the support of a growing list of sponsors, which includes Kohler Co., Vollrath, Curt Joa, Will Pemco, Sargento, Panel Tech, Advantage Prototype, Bemis, PTC, ESCO, Plymouth Foam and Dulmes D├ęcor Carpet One.

“This program has developed into one of the best ones out there due in large part to the sponsors, who have really come through for us over the past six years,” Hughes said. “Also, the dedication of the mentors has been really outstanding.”

Looking to the future, Schlagenhaft is pleased with where the program is heading.

“We haven’t been around all that long as a team, but I’m seeing our students maturing to the point where you see students leading students rather than mentors doing all the leading,” Schlagenhaft said. “That is the sign of a good, sustainable program.

“We are starting to get more recognized in the community, which is great,” he said. “That is what needs to happen in order for it to grow and thrive in the years ahead. It is great to see when kids graduate that they’ve trained one or two people behind them to keep the program going at a high level the following year. Building that kind of character development is a big key for a program like ours.”

The 2016 Sheboygan County RoboRiot 3418 team includes: Peter Aloisi (Sheboygan Falls High School, junior), Austin Arenz (Sheboygan Falls High School, senior), Noah Bartelt (Sheboygan North High School, Sheboygan Falls, freshman), Austin Berger (Sheboygan Falls High School, Sheboygan, junior), Caleb Blaha (Sheboygan Falls High School, junior), Jessica Bloise (IDEAS of Sheboygan, sophomore), Jason Bonner (Sheboygan Falls High School, junior), Luke Burgard (Sheboygan Falls High School, sophomore), Mitchell Christiansen (Sheboygan Falls High School, junior), Nicholas Daniels (IDEAS, freshman), Morgan DePagter (Sheboygan Falls High School, junior), Arden DeRuyter (Sheboygan Falls High School, sophomore), Corby Gafney (Plymouth High School, senior), Benjamin Haefs (Plymouth High School, senior), Robert Hayes (Sheboygan Falls High School, Sheboygan, junior), Ivan Hazen (Sheboygan Falls High School, freshman), Christian Henke (Sheboygan North High School, junior), Ben Hiles (Sheboygan Falls High School, sophomore), Zac Hoey (Warriner Academy of Sheboygan, sophomore), Garrett Huffman (Home school, Plymouth, sophomore), Aidan Jennings (Sheboygan Falls High School, junior), Ethan Kapelka (Sheboygan Falls High School, sophomore), Skylar Kapellen (Plymouth High School, St. Cloud, sophomore), Olivia Krueger (Sheboygan Falls High School, Oostburg, junior), Braden Kuester (Sheboygan Falls High School, junior), Ray Kulow (Sheboygan Falls High School, freshman), Preston Kvindlog (Sheboygan Falls High School, Waldo, junior), Mason Liebe (Sheboygan Falls High School, junior), Joe Liederbach (Sheboygan Falls, home school junior), Josh Loppnow (Random Lake High School, junior), Alec Meyer (Sheboygan Falls High School, Waldo, senior), Taylor Peterson (Sheboygan Falls High School, junior), Aaron Rathke (Sheboygan Falls High School, junior), Josh Rathke (Sheboygan Falls High School, senior), Isaiah Richards (Sheboygan Falls High School, junior), Gwen Schad (Sheboygan North High School, Sheboygan Falls, sophomore), Bert Arno Seeliger (Sheboygan Falls High School, sophomore), Aaron Vue (Sheboygan Falls High School, junior), Noah Wagenknecht (Home school, Cedar Grove, junior), Jonathan Wagenknecht (Home school, Cedar Grove, junior), Nathan Wagenknecht (Home school, Cedar Grove, junior) and Nick Wagner (Sheboygan North, High School, junior).

Adult mentors include: Josh Adams, Terry Arenz, Collin Berke, William Bonner, Nathaniel Darling,, Peter Fox, Shawn Henry, Ed Hughes, Nicholas Jorgensen, James Kvindlog, Eric Liederbach, John Lipinski, Kirby Nichols, Steve Oplatek, Dan Schlagenhaft, Lori Schueller, Eric Wagenknecht and Tommy Winkel.


Most recent cover pages:














Copyright 2009-2018 The Plymouth Review, All Rights Reserved

Contact Information

113 E. Mill St., Plymouth WI 53073
Local: 920-893-6411 Toll Free: 1-877-467-6591
Fax: 920-893-5505








Nyhof Custom Gutter and Aluminum