ESCANABA — U.P. Power, brainpower that is, was on full display Saturday at the FIRST Robotics Competition at Escanaba High School.
The Gladstone High School Robotics Team earned the No. 1 seed in the tournament. When it came to selecting their first of two partners in the alliance draft, the BraveBots selected their cross–town rivals, the Escanaba RoboMos.
Those two teams, along with The Junkyard Dawgs from Manistique, combined to win the district championship against teams from Traverse City West, Hale and Alpena High Schools.
“It took a lot of effort,” said Tyler Krause, a BraveBots senior. “I’m really happy with how this weekend went. With every competition we gradually got better. We had our ups and downs, but in the end it was amazing how everything laid out in our favor.”
Although the Braves and Eskymos are rivals, the two schools do regularly partner with each other at the robotics competitions.
“We’ve worked together a couple of times and we’ve always worked pretty well together even during our qualification matches,” said Nicholas Valiquette, a senior at Escanaba. “Every time that we’re with one another we look forward to it and we always know that we build good stuff.”
“We spent all of the sports seasons and everything up until this being a rivalry and learning to dislike one another,” said Rian Kwarciany, a senior at Gladstone. “Once the robotics season starts all that gets thrown away and torn away. It’s all about the competition and how we can do better for the good of our team.”
Both Gladstone and Escanaba will compete at the state meet in Grand Rapids next month.