Debut U.P. robotic team qualifies for State Championship, but…

L’ANSE — The L’Anse Area Schools robotics team has a nice problem. They did so well the first time they ever competed, they qualified to go to the state championship.

The L’Anse Robotics team is headed to the FIRST Robotics State Championship.

An impressive feat in itself, but making it to state’s in their first year in the competition is nothing short of incredible.

“I had a couple of students that really shined for me, a couple others that I really pushed to come on, build your efforts, be here, be at practice and now toward the end of the season is addicted,’ said L’Anse Science Teacher Cara Wightman. “We live and breath robots.”

Calling themselves Aluminum Sting, the team not only performed well in regional competitions in Escanaba and Ste. Sault Marie…but they also took home the Rookie All-Star Award…the Rookie Inspiration Award and Highest Rookie Seed Award.

Team Captain and senior Antonio Aleo said, “A lot of it would have been pretty hard without a lot of the help from the teacher and the mentors, and especially L’Anse Manufacturing, who sponsored us. Everybody in the group that we have here has been outstanding and it’s just been a team experience.”

Now that they’ve qualified for state’s, they need to raise the money to get there. The robotics program at L’Anse was grant funded…but no one expected the team to make it this far. They’ve set up a Go Fund Me page to help send the team to Saginaw.

Team Scout and junior Gregory Dowd said, “I think it’s an amazing opportunity and it’s going to be a really fun time to hang out with all the people on the team.”

The state competition is April 12th.