Team Bios

Team Co-Captains:

Kyler C. Co-Captain
Kyler is a junior at East and a Freshman at Lake Superior College. He got involved in robotics in 6th grade on Woodland’s First Lego League Robotics team and continues his robotics career on the Daredevils robotics team. During his free time, he loves to snowmobile, snowboard, play tennis, and hang out with friends.

Ryan C. Co-Captain
Ryan is a senior at Duluth East, and this is his fourth year on the team. He had previously worked with LEGO robots and saw the Daredevils at the freshmen Open House. In his freshmen year, Ryan enjoyed planning the trips for the team and making spreadsheets. Ryan likes to snowboard, go flying and play his baritone saxophone.


Build Department:

Connor R.
Connor is a senior at Duluth East, and this is his fourth year on the team. He joined the team for the experience as well as just for fun. In his free time, he loves to read, play the violin, and hang out with his friends.

Kahl S.
Kahl is a junior at Duluth East, and this is his third year. He discovered the team through announcements and promotional videos played during video announcements. As a member of the Build Department, he gets to help fabricate the physical components of the robot. Outside of robotics, he enjoys soccer and snowboarding.

Marcus G.
Marcus is a freshman at Duluth East High School and is on the Daredevils build team. He has been doing robotics for three years and was wanting to advance to the next level. In his free time he enjoy swimming and playing various video games.

Olivia N.
Olivia is a sophomore at Duluth East, and this is her second year on the team. Olivia joined for her love of engineering and science. She found out about the team when her fourth grade class went up to Enger Tower for a field trip, and the Daredevils were their showing off their robot. Ever since she wanted to be on the team. Her hobbies are listing to music, biking, and playing her clarinet.

Gavin S.
Gavin Sumner is a freshman at East High School. He likes to ski, bike, and just have fun at any time. He has biked two 100 mile road-bike rides as well as a 50 mile gravel ride.


CAD Department

Sasha W.
Sasha is a senior at Duluth East. He is on the CAD department, and this is his second year on the team. In his free time, which he doesn’t have much of, he wastes time on the internet and/or plays games on his PC. Prior to joining, he taught Lego robotics at several robotics summer camps, participated in FLL, and founded a STEM club at Duluth East.

Grant M.
Grant is a senior this year, and it is his first year on the Daredevils. He is a new member of the CAD department. He likes video games and blacksmithing.

Kale N.
Kale Nelson is a member of the CAD department, he is a sophomore and it it his first year on the team. He likes to swim and take long camping trips with his troop. He is life rank and has been a part of the swim team. He also was in baseball wrestling and football; and will be a part of track and field.


Electronics Department:

Cameron A.
Cameron is a junior at Duluth East, and this is his third year on the team. Previously, he was involved in FIRST LEGO League for two years. He got involved because he knew a few people on the team and he thought it seemed like fun. In his free time, he enjoys doing projects around the house, like building an electric skateboard.

Jo J.
Jo is a sophomore and this is her second year on the team. She found out about the team when her older brother made the team and made it seem like a really fun time. When she isn’t doing robotics things, she is playing video games, and horseback riding

Elliot J.
Elliot is a freshmen at Duluth East, and this is his first year on the team. He joined to gain experience in the field of robotics and to meet knew people. In his free time Elliot likes to read, play video games, and be outdoors.
Management Department:

Mike P.
Michael is a senior at Duluth East, and this is his fourth year on the team. He first became interested in robotics when he joined a FIRST LEGO Robotics Team and saw a video of the Daredevils competing at a regional online. He spends his time hanging out with his friends, playing video games, organizing, and playing his bass. He has a lot of fun on the team and is glad he joined as he has picked up useful skills.

Haley M.
Haley is a sophomore at east this year and it is her second year on the team as a member of team management. Outside of robotics she participates in Tap dancing and Piano Lessons. She also plays Clarinet.

Anna K.
Anna is a sophomore at Duluth East and this is her second year on the team. She first became interested in the team after her aunt brought her to several competitions and she got to meet the team. Some of her hobbies include scrapbooking, baking and spending time with family and friends.


Media Department:

Morgan P.
Morgan is a senior at Duluth East, and this is her fourth year being on the team. She now helps out with both the Media and Management Departments. She first became interested in robotics when the Two Harbors High School did so well their rookie year, with help from the Daredevils. Morgan joined to meet new people, get involved, and broaden her region of tech skills. In her free time, she likes to read, listen to music, hunt, fish, and take pictures.

Kody O.
Kody is a senior at Duluth East, and this is his fourth year on the team. Kody first heard about the team when he took a tour of the school and was told about it by a couple of students. He could immediately tell it was something he wanted to do. Kody’s other hobbies outside of robotics include hanging out with friends, long-boarding, listening to music, and taking pictures.

Demetrius S.
Demetrius is a senior at Duluth East, and this is his third year on the team and as a part of FIRST. He joined for the fun and experience from working together with other people to achieve a goal. In his free time, he loves playing video games, playing the guitar or the trumpet, and hanging out with his friends.

Annalise T.
Anna is a junior at Duluth East and is on both media and build. Her interests are graphic design and art. She loves listening to music. If you ever see her in the halls, she more than likely has earbuds in.

Samuel L.
Samuel is 14 years old and is a freshmen at East High School. He likes baseball and hunting, and he really likes East so far.

Lucas Finch
Lucas Finch is a freshman at Duluth East. He got involved in robotics in 6th grade, and did FLL in 6th and 7th grade, and then did FTC in 8th grade. He heard about the Daredevils by going to the regional tournament at the DECC. In his free time he likes to mountain bike, fat-bike, and ski.

Noah H.
Noah is a Sophomore at Duluth East, and this is his first year on the team. He joined the team after being the Proctor FIRST robotics team for its first year. He enjoys creating graphics, videos, miniature models and generally anything that involves being creative.

Cassie P.
Cassie Pennings is a senior at East High school as well as a captain for the Media department. Outside of robotics and school work, she tutors, draws, writes, and plays her viola. She is planning on going to North Dakota State University with a possible major in Biochemistry.

Kyana H.
Kya is a freshman at Duluth East. She found out about the team at the Rhubarb Festival when the team brought two of their robots to the event. In her free time she likes to doodle and listen to NPR.


Programming Department:

Troy M.
Troy is a senior at Duluth East and this is his fourth year on the team. Troy has always been interested in programming and robotics, being involved in FIRST LEGO League in sixth grade, and programming and processing in seventh grade. Besides robotics, Troy is involved in A’Cappella, Boy Scouts, and cross country.

Dawson A.
Dawson is a junior at Duluth East, and this is his third year on the team. He got involved through his interest in robotics. Dawson enjoys programming, photography, woodworking, chess, origami, knife collecting, drifting, Long-boarding, hiking, and anything outdoors

Noah G.
Noah is a junior at Duluth East and this is his second year on the team. He joined because he heard great things about the team and had always been interested in programming. In his free time, Noah enjoys playing video games, baseball, airsoft, spending time with friends, and listening to music.

Loki R.
Loki is a freshman at Duluth East and this is his first year on the team. He got interested in joining through his interests in technology and robotics. He enjoys playing games and programming in his free time.

Jared M.
Jared is a freshman on the team and a sophomore at East. He did LEGO for several years which is how he got interested in joining the Daredevils. Jared likes to play his french horn in pep-band at East.


Strategy Department:

Zach H.
Zach is a senior at Duluth East, and this is his fourth year on the team. He is now the captain of the Strategy Department. He joined the team because of his love for technology and yearning to make robots. In his spare time, he looks at Chief Delphi and helps work on the robots.

Jonathon E.
Jonathon Erickson is a Daredevil who has been in the Strategy Department from the past three years. He is currently a senior and lamenting the time where he has to leave. On the team, Jon overviews game data collection and manages the data into an organized and readable format. In his time outside of the team, Jon attempts to juggle work, Music, Family, Friends, and Video Games.

Linnea F.
Linnea is a sophomore at East. She joined the team after her brother was on the team for four years. In her free time she does a lot of reading.

Julia B.
Julia is a sophomore at Duluth East, and this is her second year on the team. Julia joined the team due to her enjoyment of STEM and FIRST principles. Julia heard about the team through her brother and it seemed interesting. In her free time, Julia is on the Duluth East Girls Swim Team, Youth in Government through the YMCA and spends every other waking moment reading, listening to music or baking and cooking interesting cuisine.



Team Mentors


Lead Mentor:

Tim Velner
Tim Velner’s passion is biology. If he were a teen today, he’s certain he would be a genetic engineer. He has always wanted to coach and for years saw himself as a cross-country ski coach – until robotics entered his life 7 years ago. As a eighth year coach, he is constantly amazed at what our team accomplishes year after year. It is fun to watch the team grow even as it loses seasoned members to graduation and recruits new members every year. It is a reminder that we live on the shoulders of those that came before us.
He grew up in Hopkins, Minnesota, and found Duluth on a band trip during his sophomore year. He attended the University of Minnesota Duluth where he received a degree in Biology, Chemistry and Secondary Education. He fell in love with Duluth and decided to make this his home. He’s amazed that it is not always the big decisions that determines the path we take, but often times it is the added influence of our daily choices that guides our paths.
For our team members, deciding to become a part of this team will have impacts that will bear fruit many years and decades into the future. He loves the annual build but more than that, he loves to see the dreams of the Daredevils unfold.


Build Department Mentors:

Lance Johnson
Lance is a Build Department Mentor and joined the team in 2012. He works at the 148th Fighter Wing as a.n Aircraft Mechanic Supervisor directing maintenance on F-16 block 50 aircraft. He has had an Airframe and Powerplant license since 1998. He brings 30 years of aircraft maintenance and modification experience to the team. He became involved when his son joined in 2011. In his free time he likes flying model rockets, remote-controlled airplanes, camping, motorcycling, and snowmobiling.

Wayne Lundquist
This will be Wayne’s fourth year of serving as a mentor on the Duluth East Daredevils Build Team.  Wayne is retired with 20 years of Federal Service for the Department of Labor, Mine Safety and Health Administration, where he was a Safety Inspector and a Conference and Litigation Officer.  Wayne also spent several years working for the Archer Brothers Race Team.  The love for turning wrenches and fabricating has been in Wayne’s blood forever.  It’s great that he can share his skills and knowledge with a younger generation.  When Wayne is not mentoring, he can be found in his garage working on his 85 Corvette or lending a helping hand where ever it is needed.

Russ Meyers
Russ is a Build Department Mentor. He joined the team in October of 2010. There was a need for metal working experience and equipment beyond what the team had and he was able to help fill those needs. He works at Archer Racing; building, repairing, upgrading, and maintaining race cars. He has since been the team’s machinists/fabricator, and brings more than 30 years of his experience.

Phil Norris
Phil’s sons got him hooked on FIRST when they joined FIRST LEGO League at Ordean. He is now starting his 11th year as a Mentor for FIRST. Phil enjoys traveling and remodeling his house, which includes adding on to his garage to make way for a mid-life crisis car. He loves cheesy 80’s music and his favorite food group is chocolate!


Electronics Department Mentors:

Gary Harma
Gary Harma currently works for CenturyLink as a Communications Specialist, and is a Mentor on the Build Department; working primarily on electronics. After watching the team during the two years his daughter participated, he got involved as a Mentor in 2014 when his son became a member of the team and there was a need for an electronics mentor. Outside of robotics, Gary enjoys being outdoors boating and snowmobiling, listening to music as well as playing music on drums. He also enjoys fixing anything mechanical or electronic that has broken.


Management Department Mentors:
Karol Lundquist
The 2016-2017 school year will be Karol’s fourth year serving as a mentor on Team Management for the Duluth East Daredevils.  Karol is retired from the U.S. Forest Service where she served as the Budget and Finance Officer for the Superior National Forest. Mentoring has filled her days and provided a great way to pay it forward.  When she is not attending Daredevil events, she spends lots of time spoiling her grandchildren. Her hobbies include working in her flower gardens, doing jigsaw puzzles and taking long walks in the woods. She is thankful for the opportunity to serve as a mentor. 

Kelly Olsen
Kelly is the owner of a small business in Duluth and joined the Daredevils in 2013 to help with finances and fundraising. He is a serial entrepreneur and has started several companies over the past 25 years, but has settled into marketing and selling heavy machinery online since 2001. He was involved in starting a Charter School in Northern Minnesota, and served several years on the School Board as Vice President. For fun, Kelly enjoys riding his motorcycle, traveling, and is especially passionate about spending time on the ocean, fishing, sailing and hanging out in the Florida Keys.


Media Department Mentors:

Blake Johnston
Blake is a senior at the University of Minnesota Duluth and is currently studying marketing, graphic design, and photography. In his free time, he likes snowboarding, making videos, camping, biking, unicycling, and traveling. This is his third year with FIRST and he is excited for another year with the team helping with the Media Department.

Lisa Harma
Lisa is a new mentor for the Media department. She became interested in robotics and a fan of FIRST when her daughter joined the team in 2011. After she attended her first competition Lisa was hooked on robotics! After the former Media mentor moved on Lisa saw an opportunity to utilize her communications and journalism college education and help out the team. When she isn’t working with the Daredevils, Lisa works full time as a Trust Relationship Manager for U.S. Bank NA and in her spare time enjoys scrapbooking, reading, cross country skiing and the beach!

Programming Department Mentors:

Kris Nelson
Kris is a Software Engineer at Saturn Systems and this is his fourth year as a Mentor for the Daredevils. He was introduced to the team when they were presenting during Nerd Nite, and shortly after became the Programming Department Mentor. He also enjoys reading, hiking, fencing, and making books by hand. His favorite part of FIRST is helping students learn and seeing them reach new heights.