Becker’s wildly successful robotics team, C.I.S. 4607, won the Impact Award last weekend at the Great Northern Regional in Grand Forks, ND, and secured the team’s seventh trip to the World Championships.
The Impact Award is the new name for the former Chairman’s Award, which is the highest honor given at FIRST Robotics competitions. It not only measures the quality of a team’s robot, but also considers the team’s overall contributions to STEM, their community and the other ideals of the FIRST organization.
The award is based on a complex submission of the team’s activities, a video and an in-person interview completed by three team members at the competition.
“The award is a culmination of our body of work over a sustained period, not just a single season,” Head Coach Alex Jurek said. “The professionalism of our students and their preparation, as well as the impact we have had on other teams, really set us apart.”
While the Impact team was wooing the judges, the team’s robot was dominating on the competition field, going 9-1 in the elimination matches to earn the #2 overall seed. In the final alliance selections, Becker was chosen to join Sartell and Albany to form the #1 alliance. Based on the qualification scores, a win in the finals seemed likely until both Sartell and Albany suffered mechanical breakdowns in the two finals matches. Going solo against the other three robots, Becker nearly pulled off the unbelievable upset but ultimately fell short, placing second overall with their robot, LockJaw, being one of the most impressive machines on the field.
The team also had a great regional competition in the individual events, earning a pair of top awards.
Becker’s Adam Sura was named a Dean’s List Finalist, meaning he gets to compete at the World Championships against the top robotics students from across the globe.
Sura has gained a statewide reputation as a top programmer and he is often sought out by other teams to help with their robots.
At Great Northern, a team showed up with a non-functioning robot but Adam worked diligently in that team’s pit and completely re-did their code. Not only did it work great, but that team went on to be part of the winning alliance that defeated Becker’s in the championship matches.
“Adam is always thinking about new and creative ideas that can be applied to robotics and his team,” Jurek wrote in his nomination of Sura. “For 4607, Adam was instrumental in our team reaching the successes we had - and his work on making our autonomous so consistent it helped FRC 4607 win the State Championship in 2022.”
Mentor Corey Applegate was also a winner at the competition, being named a Woodie Flowers finalist. This is the award that goes to mentors who go above and beyond in their assistance to robotics teams. It is a very difficult award to win, and he is the second Becker mentor to receive the honor — Jurek won the award in 2016.
The team will participate in the Lacrosse regional the last weekend in March, but it’s the trip to Houston for the World Championships April 19-22 that has the team excited. This season, Becker will travel a bit early and get the opportunity to visit NASA as part of the experience.
The team will announce its fundraising efforts soon, as the nearly annual trips to the World Championships are expensive. Most teams would be ecstatic to qualify once in a decade, but Becker’s dominance keeps affording students the incredible opportunity. It does, however, come with a price — transportation alone for the team will be nearly $25,000. Add in the lodging for the 33 team members, as well as the $5,000 registration fee, and Jurek’s budget will easily approach the $50,000 mark.
Members of this year’s team include: Vincent Martin, Noah Bloch, Greg Headley, Tim Middleton, Kayla Gruenes, Noelle Kempin, Emilia Hansen, Adam Sura, Isaac Wentland, Kayla Meyer, John Nielsen, Michael Thielen, Preston Thielen, Helen Jiang, Alyssa Hansen, Anna Kuklok, Abby Stich, Cora Haugen, Keira Pickwall, Anikah Hall, Vincent Sienko, Landon Jurek, Eli Bring, Collin Lietha, Cam Northenscold, Makayla Hoefs, Aliyah Sizable, Kaylee Waters, Sofia Fakhreddine, Cora Bellefeuille, Jacob Kurhajetz, Evan Kempin and Ashlen Timmers.
Coaches: Alex Jurek, John Stich, Joe Kurhajetz; Mentors: Corey Applegate, Eric McCalla, Blake Soenneker, Kris Fischbach, Jim Cota, Katy Cota, Jeannie Stich, Logan Steffen, Dylan Cheney, Rikke Hansen, Katie Meyer, Jessica Bring, Evan Schmidt, Monty Headley, Nicole Wentland, Ann Sura and Jill Lietha.
Sponsors for this year’s team include: Clear Lake Lions, Becker Lions, Clearwater Lions, Liberty Paper Inc, Grand Irrigation, Becker Robotics Booster Club, Delta ModTech, UMC Inc, Hubbard Electric, Sartell Tax & Accounting Services Inc, Xcel Social Club and Darter Plastics Inc.