Robotics team state boundPublished 10:53pm Monday, April 9, 2012
A Niles High School team is headed to state.
Not the basketball team or the football team, but the robotics team.
Head coach Wayne Borr said the accomplishment is a big deal, especially considering Niles High School has had the team for only two years.
“Robotics is no different than cross-country or football for that matter,” he said. “When a team makes it to state it is a great accomplishment.”
Niles High School’s robotics team — Team 3502 — is one of 64 Michigan teams that qualified for the FIRST Robotics Competition State Championship. It will be held Thursday through Saturday at Eastern Michigan University.
About 200 teams competed this season for a spot at the state tournament. Teams qualified based on the amount of points scored during the robotics season.
Niles amassed 59 points, good for a ranking of 49th.
Gavin Croom, a junior on the Niles team, didn’t go into the season thinking Niles would qualify for state. That all changed when Niles won a tournament at Traverse City.
“That’s when everyone started thinking we’d have a chance,” Croom said.
Croom is part of his team’s financial group. He and a few other teammates were responsible for obtaining sponsors to fund the team’s trips to tournaments and need for robot parts.
Junior Jerrid Burdue, who is also part of Niles’ finance team, said they raised around $5,000 this year.
He is thrilled to see the hard work pay off.
“It really adds to the enjoyment,” Burdue said, “and it shows that we have a strong team.”
FIRST is an acronym For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology. Teams are competing in a game called Rebound Rumble, which requires students to build and control robots capable of shooting basketballs through hoops. Teams earn points when their robot makes a basket, among other things.
Another Niles team based out of Lake Michigan College — Team 2474 — also qualified for state.
Team 2474 earned 98 points this season and is ranked 15th.
Team 2474 won the tournament at Niles High School.