In September 2013, 5 students, 4 parents, and 1 teacher founded the Mission Hills High School Robotics Club. The students developed the idea for a team after previous involvement with FIRST with the FRC team at High Tech High North County in San Marcos, California starting during the 2011 season. They enjoyed building robots and then competing.

Team 5137 Iron Kodiaks has been quite successful in our first six seasons – making the playoffs 11 times in 15 total events. We finished in the quarterfinals 7 times and finished the semifinals 4 times.


During their first season, Team 5137 Iron Kodiaks successfully competed in the 2014 Aerial Assist at the San Diego Regional Competition and received the Rookie All-Star Award, the highest honor given to first-year teams. They went on to compete in the Galileo Division at the World Championships in St. Louis, Missouri, which was a great learning experience for the team and their families. In the fall, the team competed at the Battle at the Border. Outside of competitions, the Iron Kodiaks were featured in several newspapers, a local news station, and a nationally broadcasted radio station.

Battle at the Border Mission Hills High School 2014

During their second season, the Iron Kodiaks made it to the Quarterfinals in San Diego. They traveled to the Ventura Regional and put in a very strong showing, making it to the Semifinals. During the Ventura playoffs, our alliance teammates had an extra set of arms that they asked us to put on the robot. We installed them on the day of the competition. Here’s the picture:

Team 5137 competed at the San Diego Regional and the Central Valley competition in Madera, CA, making it to the semi-finals at both events. In the fall, we competed at Battle at the Border and finished in the quarterfinals.

The team finished in the semifinals at the San Diego regional and the quarterfinals at the Ventura regional.

The team competed at San Diego Regional but did not make the playoffs. They next went to the Orange County regional and finished in the quarterfinals.  In the fall, we competed at Battle at the Border and finished in the quarterfinals.

Team 5137 competed at the Del Mar Regional and the Ventura Regional finishing in the quarterfinals at both events. In the fall, we competed at Battle at the Border.

Why are we called Iron Kodiaks?

The San Marcos Mission Hills High School’s mascot is a Californian Grizzly Bear. When choosing a club name, most of the students voted NOT to have a “grizzly” name for the team. Instead, after much discussion and a long list of names, the team ultimately decided for the “Iron Kodiaks” name – half bear, half bot.

The team’s number, 5137, was assigned by FIRST.

Why do we sometimes wear leis?

When you type “5137” into a manual calculator and turn it upside down, the digits spell out “LEIS”.

Artwork by Lucas

What’s the robot’s name?

In keeping with tradition from when the team first began, Team 5137 robots have always been called, “Varsam” which is Swedish for “gentle,” combined with another Swedish word to describe something else that may or may not be related to the season. The first name came from a student who shouted out, “Varsam Utgangusador!” (The Gentle Publisher), which he had seen on a bus. The next year’s robot name is to be discussed and determined at the last team dinner of the season.

Names for the Robot over the years

  • 2022 Varsam undergångsstämning
  • 2020-2021 Varsam Ulv i fårakläder (The Gentle Wolf in Sheep’s Clothing)
  • 2019 Varsam  Undermedvetna (the Gentle Subconscious)
  • 2018 Varsam Uppståndelse (The Gentle Resurrection)
  • 2017 Varsam Utmanövrera (The Gentle Outmaneuver)
  • 2016 Varsam Utrensmingkrash (The Gentle Purge Crash)
  • 2015 Varsam Utrotningsmedel (The Gentle Eradication Agent)
  • 2014 Varsam Utgangusador (The Gentle Publisher)