V2 Robotics team goes onto World Championships

Courtesy Photo Alpena High School seniors Nolan Jones, left, and Hailey Boyk with the Gracious Professionalism Award that Team 5505 received at the Michigan State Championships at Saginaw Valley State University on Saturday.

ALPENA — The Michigan District FIRST Robotics Championships were this past weekend at Saginaw Valley State University with the top 160 teams in Michigan competing. Alpena’s Team 5505, V2 Robotics, earned enough points throughout the season to clinch a spot in the World Championships next week.

Alpena High School teacher and coach of both Alpena FIRST Robotics teams Melissa Doubek said it was a great weekend overall.

“Both the teams made the playoffs and it was the first time Team 5230 made the playoffs so they were excited,” she said.

Doubek said Team 5505 knew going in that they were in a good position to advance to the World Championships. She said Team 5505 has made the World Championships every year of its existence, which is four years.

“They were already planning and they already gave me a list of items to order because they broke a lot of parts this weekend,” Doubek said.

It was announced during the championships that Team 5505 was one of the most decorated teams for 2018 season entering the Michigan District Championships. The team won five awards: the Chairman’s Award, the Engineering Inspiration Award, a District Championship, the Entrepreneurship Award, and a District Finalist.

Doubek said Team 5230, The Resistance, is a younger team and even though the team had a rough Friday at SVSU, they advanced to the playoff matches.

“They showed on Friday that they were a good team,” Doubek said.

The city of Alpena was recognized at SVSU during a special presentation by Gov. Rick Snyder. Alpena with the Relentless Positive Action Award, which recognized the community’s collective support to grow FIRST Robotics in the region.

“It was a surprise and we didn’t know we were going to receive it. It was a special time for us,” Doubek said. “John Diamond received the award for Alpena and the award was for the city and for the tournament we held.”

Doubek said the teams were in the pits tearing down and didn’t know they were going to receive the award until Diamond was asked by FIRST President Gail Alpert to come and receive the award for Alpena.

Doubek said the Youth and Recreation Grant has helped the FIRST Robotics program grow. She said the Youth and Recreation Grant is a really cool thing and Diamond and Brian VanWormer, who works at Employment Services, Inc., have helped the Alpena FIRST Robotics program grow.

“It shows how much our local government cares about the FIRST initiative,” she said. “I’ve been really impressed by what the Chamber of Commerce has done and what our local industries have done to help the growth of STEM for the students.”

Team 5505 also received the Gracious Professionalism Award at SVSU. The award recognizes the team’s efforts to assist the rookie teams from Oscoda, Hillman, and Atlanta to help them grow stronger through their first season in FIRST Robotics.

Doubek said the Gracious Professionalism Award is specifically to honor AHS senior Nolan Jones for the work he’s done this season to help the rookie teams in the region. She said Jones and the rest of the Alpena FIRST Robotics teams have provided mentoring assistance throughout the season and have taught other teams mechanical skills, programming, and team structure guidance.

“Nolan and his teammates also provided several teams from the Upper Peninsula with mechanical assistance during tournaments to prepare their robots for competition,” Doubek said.

The FIRST World Championships will be held at Cobo Hall in Detroit on April 25-28.

Julie Goldberg can be reached via email at jgoldberg@thealpenanews.com or by phone at 358-5688.