Columbus team finishes 2nd at FIRST LEGO League competition

Stillwater Robotics honored in Innovative Solution category
Mikaela Koski
Thursday, January 31, 2019
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Courtesy photo
            The Stillwater Robotics team with coach Scott Olson and its second place trophy.

Last weekend, a team of four Columbus middle schoolers traveled to Bozeman to take part in the FIRST LEGO League competition. They returned with a bright yellow trophy.

Stillwater Robotics received a second place Innovative Solution Award for their electromagnetic boot design solution to the Into Orbit Challenge.

Teams taking part in this year’s challenge were assigned to “identify a physical or social problem faced by humans during long duration space exploration within our Sun’s solar system and propose a solution.” In this case, “long duration” means spending at least a year in outer space.

The challenge had two components. The first was the project, for which the teams found a solution to the problem they were given, and gave a 5-minute presentation to judges. The second was the robot game, for which the team had to program a robot to complete predetermined tasks.

FIRST LEGO League competitions are guided by the “FIRST core values” of discovery, innovation, impact, inclusion, teamwork, and fun.

This year’s team members – Mason Adams, Elias Vesbach, Landon Olson, and Beau Huncovsky – have worked several hours a week for the past four months preparing for the competition.

The group has found LEGO success before. All four boys competed in last year’s FIRST LEGO League competition, in which their team took first place in programming and seventh overall in the robotics competition.


FIRST is a nonprofit public charity, founded in 1989, that stands for “For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology.”

FIRST “designs accessible, innovative programs that motivate young people to pursue education and career opportunities is science, technology, engineering, and math, while building self-confidence, knowledge, and life skills,” according to the Montana State University website.

MSU’s College of Engineering has coordinated and hosted FIRST tournaments since 2007.