For the first time in five years, O-E Robotics Team 5234, “The MarauderBots,” competed on the world stage at the FIRST Championship from April 25 through April 28 in Detroit. The MarauderBots were one of 405 teams from 40 different countries that competed at “Worlds,” as the FIRST Championship is known in Michigan robotics circles.
The MarauderBots qualified for Worlds by finishing high in their district and at the state championship earlier in April. The team finished their regular season placing 77th out of 508 Michigan teams.
The event allowed the 22 Ovid-Elsie team members the opportunity to attend several conferences ranging from engineering to computer programming, business planning, college preparation and other STEM-related courses. They also had the opportunity to visit “Scholarship Row,” where over 20 colleges from all over the U.S. were on hand to discuss future college career paths with them.
The 405 teams competing at Worlds were split among six “district” fields. The MarauderBots were on the “Darwin” field with 67 other teams, finishing the preliminary qualifying matches ranked 31st. They were then chosen by the seventh alliance to be a part of the playoff matches to determine the best teams on that field. This advancement marked the first time that any Shiawassee County robotics team achieved such placement. Sadly, they were eliminated in the quarterfinal matches.
The entire 2018 season has been a breakout year for the team, with what they feel to be their best built robot among all prior years. This season’s team fared better than its previous four teams, with a 4th-place ranking at the Kettering District and a 1st-place ranking at the Gaylord District. With the addition of two new team mentors this season, the support of local businesses in sponsorships, the support of many community members and the team members’ parents, the team is setting their goals even higher for the 2019 season.
“The MarauderBots would like to thank everyone for their support this season,” shared coach Brian Topping. “Without such support the team could not have advanced so far and experienced so much. We look forward to representing the O-E community next season. #MarauderUp.”
The team can be seen gathering for a photo between games at Worlds. Shown in the top row (from left) is Collin Freeman (drive coach), Brian Topping (head coach), Jason Kusnier (mentor), Cameron Freeman (mentor), Gabe Stenger, Dolan Hooker, Kiernan Seagers, Dawson Coats (team captain), Adam Peckens (build captain), Joey McGroarty (programming captain), Jackson Thorton, Josh Swender, Justin Moore, Lyndon Lutz, Branden Coates (mentor), Ginny Freeman (mentor) and Kevin Freeman (mentor).
In the front row (from left) is Trace Kusnier, Maddie Gavenda, Wyatt Dahlke, Ashley Antes, Katie Beeman (scouting captain), Jessica Monroe (safety captain), Katie McGroarty, Drew Ingraham (media captain), Kiahla Charvat, Austin Taylor, Austin Nixon, Dannon Kusnier and Jolie Saul (mentor). Not pictured are Coleten Towsley and Kennedy Scott (business captain).