A national organization pits teams of high school students against each other as they develop, manufacture, and test a robot of their design.

One group based out of Saint Peter has not only constructed such a robot, but has also made its way to the national tournament.

If constructing an IKEA table is off–putting, then this group may not be for you.

Called the Nordic Storm, this team of 19 high school students meets upwards of six times a week in the basement of Beck Hall on the campus of Gustavus Adolphus College.

There, they manufacture, program, and adjust their robotic vehicle.

This team, along with scores of others across the nation, pits their vehicles in a 3 versus 3 tournament attempting to outscore their opponent.

Brennan Kelly, a senior on Nordic Storm, says, "It's very competitive. You go to all these regionals and you're a good team and then you get to nationals and you look around at all these other robots and it's just mind–blowing."

Annika Johnson, a 10th grader on Nordic Storm, says "We're based out of St. Peter, but we have students from 6 other schools in a 30–mile radius."

Kelly says "They didn't have the resources, we didn't have the resources, so we decided to combine into one team so we would have enough money and people to do it."

And the joint resources and innovative thoughts of this team has taken them to national competition level three times.

Kelly says, "18 year olds and younger. We don't know how to run these big machines all the time so having a professional here to help us get through that really helps a lot."

Loren Johns, a mentor to Nordic Storm for the last four years, says, "Basically help them make whatever they need for the robot."

That help is already sparking new interest as young minds grasp professional concepts, such as Caleb Brocker learning to use three–dimensional rendering software.

Caleb Brocker, a 9th grader and first year member, says, "Easily CAD. It's a lot of fun to learn."

And so they excitedly prep for the national tournament in St. Louis at the end of April.

Brocker says, "I hope we do good. We were ranked second, but we beat the first place team."

And a team open to dedicated minds.

Kelly says, "...you don't have to like robots to be in robotics."