Local Robotics teams make strong showing in Districts

TRAVERSE CITY — Two Manistee County Robotics teams spent the past weekend competing against 38 other teams at the annual Traverse City Robotics First District tournament.

Members of the Bear Lake Robotics team use the time between matches to make some adjustments to their robot at the Traverse City competition.

Members of the Bear Lake Robotics team use the time between matches to make some adjustments to their robot at the Traverse City competition.

The Bear Lake Robotics team that is coached by  Steve Gomez, John Prokes, Chris Gomez and Lori Mullet entered the tournament looking to prove something to themselves and the rest of the field. This is the third year that Bear Lake has fielded a Robotics team, and the coaches felt is was one of their strongest teams and robots.

“We did great,” Prokes said on Monday morning. “After 80 qualification matches at the tournament we competed in 12 of the matches.”

This year the students were asked to create a robot capable of picking up square boxes and placing them on elevated shelves. It is why the Bear Lake robot was 55 inches in height and could extend its arms up to 90 inches in height, which was a design feature that challenged all teams.

Prokes said things went so well the team was invited to compete in the District Championship.

“We won our first match of the districts, but lost the subsequent two and were eventually eliminated in the quarterfinals,” said Prokes. “This is the farthest we ever advanced and our hope is to improve for the Grand Valley State University district event on March 23 and 24.”

Team members who competed at Traverse City included captains Jonathan Lone and Jacob Newsome. Others making the trip to Traverse City were Faith Kidd, Trevor Eisenlohr, Megan Gydesen, T.J. Freeman, Kevin Groll and Bryce Tracy who make up the remainder of the team.

Also competing at the Traverse City event where the Brethren Bobcats, who finished in 27th place in the 40 team field. The Brethren team is coached by Mitchell Knoll and Bill Cunningham, and they were proud of their team’s efforts after they ran into a few hurdles tossed in their path in the early rounds of the competition.

“After 12 qualification matches we had a 5-7 record,” said Knoll. “The robot had some hiccups early, but adjustments were made along to way to improve our performance in each match.”

Drive team members who were on the field helping to operate and fix the robot this weekend were Mike Potter, Jacob Hofacker, Caleb Franz, Jaden Young and Justin Kissling. Other team members who helped scout and evaluate other teams’ robots during the event were Rhinnon Gillis, Erica Feller, Raven Shriver, Josh Wayward, Will Pasqualone and Eddie Fitzgerald.

First year coach Bill Cunningham said the enthusiasm at the competition never ceases to amaze him.

“Interestingly, the competitions were part of the event, but not the entire focus,” said Cunningham. “During my years of coaching volleyball and basketball, I have never experienced the fun that was had between the competitions held within the arena. Believe me when I say that everyone in the stands and on the floor were having fun.”

Knoll said the team will go back to work in the next several weeks preparing for their next tournament.

“Our next competition will be held at Alpena High School April 6 and 7,” said Knoll.

 

avatar

Posted by Ken Grabowski

Ken is News Advocate’s education reporter. He coordinates coverage for all Manistee County schools and West Shore Community College. He can be reached by phone at (231) 398-3125 or by email at kgrabowski@pioneergroup.com.

Leave a Reply