Ontonagon High robotics team wins district in final clash of titans

Photo provided by Glen Beck The Ontonagon Gladiator Robotics team took first place at the Kingsford District last weekend.

The Ontonagon School District Robotics team won the Kingsford District competition Saturday.

The teams had to control a robot then attach hatch panels to a cargo ship in the center of the field. They could attach the panel to either of the two rockets on their half of the playing field.

The Gladiators made it through Friday’s qualification by winning nine of its 12 matches. At the end of the qualification the Gladiators, called Team 6569, found themselves in fourth place.

This advanced them to a best two-of-three competition in the championship round.

In the championship round the top eight teams advance and choose allies.

“The first-place team selected the second-place team to join their alliance. This moved us to third place,” said Ontonagon robotics coach Glen Beck. “The second-place team invited the Gladiators to join their alliance, but the team respectfully declined the invitation.”

The Gladiators wound up inviting the ‘Adambots’ from Adams High School in Rochester, Michigan, and the team from Sault Area High School to join their alliance.

In Saturday’s quarterfinals, the Gladiator Alliance won both of its matches.

“We then won in the semifinals against an alliance that featured an incredible team from Calumet, the Copperbots,” Beck said.

The win against the Calumet-led alliance advanced Ontonagon to the finals. There, it had to control and maneuver their robot against the first-place alliance.

The Ontonagon team won the first match, 78-73. They lost the second match 68-38, after a communication cable became disconnected and disabled one of their alliance member’s robots, Beck said.

“This set up a nail-biting final match,” Beck said. “We were victorious by a score of 72-70,”

The Ontonagon Gladiator robotics team is in its third year of competition. Beck told the Ontonagon School Board many teams are long-time competitors, some going back more than two decades to the competition’s birth.

The team is ranked 34th in Michigan out of more than 500 teams. It now moves on to the district event in Sault Saint Marie, April 4-6.

While the Ontonagon School Board approved a travel request for the competition in the Soo, the team is also turning to the local community and businesses for financial help.

Beck thanked Lakeshore for its sponsorship at the competition in Kingsford.