The Union Grove Union High School team of Kayla Knudtson (from left), Nataly Schoening and Olivia Briske captured first place in the Wisconsin Seaperch underwater robotics regional tournament in Elkhorn on Feb. 16.

Team earns a berth in international competition

Six teams of students from the engineering classes at Union Grove High School competed in the South East Wisconsin Seaperch underwater robotics regional tournament in Elkhorn on Feb. 16 and succeeded in capturing two of the top three places.

The team of sophomores Kayla Knudtson, Nataly Schoening, and Olivia Briske won first place and earned an invite to the international competition to compete against teams from around the world. They also finished first in the engineering presentation and the challenge obstacle course.

The team of Zack Zikowski, Eric Williamson, and Lane Anderson finished in third place.

The competition consists of three events. The first event is the obstacle course consisting of five rings oriented at different angles that teams must maneuver through and back for the quickest time. The second event is the challenge course. This is a course with tasks that include moving objects underwater, above water, and switching latches and other devices.

The third event is the team engineering presentation consisting of a poster board and a five-minute presentation to judges describing their engineering design process including failure analysis and redesign iterations.

The six Union Grove teams were supported by local sponsors, including American Metalcraft Industries, Twin Disc, Community State Bank, First Call Heating and Cooling, Coleman Tool, and Subway of Union Grove.

The teams also received a robotics grant from the State of Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction.

The other teams participating in the regional competition were from Kettle Moraine High School, Ashwaubenon High School, Deer Creek Intermediate School, Mahone Middle School, Golda Meir School, and HOPE Academy. The team from Ashwaubenon claimed second place and is also headed to the international tournament.

The regional tournament was sponsored and run by the Milwaukee Council of the Navy League of the United States and held in the pool at Elkhorn High School as part of the Elkhorn Makerfaire.

People interested in learning more, entering a team, or sponsoring a team should contact Erik Wolbach at