Calumet Copperbots make their way to the State Championships

CALUMET — With being such a small school and a small robotics team; they are making a big name for themselves.

The Calumet CopperBots are working their way to the State Championships and maybe even back to the World Championships this year.

“We have competed at the State Championship for the last 4 years and we have made it to the World Championships two of those 4 years,” said Todd Waurio, Robotics Mentor. “It is just incredible; I mean these are the best student minds in the world that are at these things. It really shows and it is super high energy and the enthusiasm of this group is just incredible. It is an environment that you have to see to appreciate.”

As the team gets ready for the big competition this week they do feel that they are prepared for this challenging competition.
They did well at their last two regional competitions and are ready for the road ahead of them.

“I think we have executed everything reasonably well this year,” explained Zander Worm, Drive Team Member. “We are looking solid and we have done a great job at the Lake Superior State Regional’s and the Kingsford Regional’s. So we are looking solid for the state competition this year.”

Now this team has a tremendous job in the Upper Peninsula, but now they will be going up against some teams that have more resources.
Although that isn’t bothering the CopperBots because they know they put their time and passion in to what they do.

“I know teams that have 50 students and for us we have 10 and we have 1 mentor,” said Lowell Torola, Team Driver. “These other teams will have 20 and so you are really outmanned. So you just really have to out work them. That’s what it comes down too. You have to out work them in the robotics room, developing designs, CADing, programming, and testing. But you have to also out work them in outreach. You will have to work harder because you don’t have the same kind of companies in our local areas. So we just have to work and work with local businesses to forge partnerships and things like that.”

This team has done quite well with their outreach due to receiving donations that have changed the game for this team’s performance.

“We integrated a lot of computer aided design and we did our own in house machining this year,” explained Waurio. “We designed our own gear boxes and we even designed some mechanisms that up until this year really were out of our reach. But we received some donations of some machines which included a few CNC machines, a lathe and a mill. These machines just really stepped up our ability to produce some really quality designs.”

This robotics team has definitely been putting in the time and has even been putting more time on the weekends, which can go up to 9-10 hours. It’s all for the chance to win the championships.

“It’s really just however much work you can put in yourself, you put in.” said Torola. “Fortunately enough I have a pretty free schedule or I made it free and ill stay in until 8 or nine at night and it is no big deal.”
With all of that time these students put in they are extremely excited and ready to go to State and to show everyone in Michigan that they are a team to not be overlooked.

“I mean this is it,” said Torola. “This is your last shot so you just go in and you know the sky’s the limit really with how the tournament plays out. So you just try your best and you never know where it can go.”

“We get there and we just look at the other teams and we know they have bigger budgets then us, they have way more students than us, they have bigger schools and they are from a bigger place. But you know… We can beat them.”

Now the Calumet CopperBots may win the State Championships and if they do they will head on to the world Championships. Then we will see if they have what it takes to be the best.