EagleHerald/Rick Gebhard
Eric Janofski, (right) head coach of the Carney-Nadeau Wolf Robotics Team watches as his team controls the robot Wolfy with a remote to approach the hopper and dump wiffle balls into the opening Tuesday at Carney-Nadeau High School.
EagleHerald/Rick Gebhard
Eric Janofski, (right) head coach of the Carney-Nadeau Wolf Robotics Team watches as his team controls the robot Wolfy with a remote to approach the hopper and dump wiffle balls into the opening Tuesday at Carney-Nadeau High School.
CARNEY-NADEAU — The Carney-Nadeau Wolf Robotics Team will be competing April 26-29 in the FIRST Robotics National Championship in St. Louis, Mo.

“FIRST Robotics is an international competition where we were under strict rules, limited resources and had a six-week time limit to build our robot,” said Erick Janofski, head coach of the team. “After the six weeks are up, the robot has to be bagged because there has to be an even playing field due to some teams having districts earlier than others.”

The team of nine, which range from sixth graders to seniors, began their season in December, “which was really late in the season,” he explained.

“The competition includes having the robot attempt certain obstacles,” Janofski said. “This year the challenges were for it to climb a rope, catch gears and place them on a peg, as well as placing balls in a high and low boiler. Each challenge that is accomplished gives the team points.”

In each competition the team has alliances, with three alliances on each side.

“Every match you are paired with people, so the people you’re playing against in one match might be your alliance in a different match,” he said. “It really creates an atmosphere of cooperation. Nobody boos or gets happy when robots die because those people might be your partners in a couple matches.”

Before heading to state, the group competed in Escanaba, Mich., and at Lake Superior State University in Sault Ste. Marie, Mich. The team took home the Rookie Inspiration Award, as well as the top-seed award from Escanaba because it had the best ranking of rookies there.

“At LSSU, we received the Rookie All-Star Award, which means we were able to interview for the State Rookie All-Star Award at the state competition, which we were qualified to compete at,” Janofski said. “We interviewed in front of judges and we, along with another team, were awarded the State Rookie All-Star Award which qualified us to go to nationals.”

Sophomore Cole Tebo, who drives the robot, said he loves being part of the team.

“It’s probably one of the best programs that you possibly can get into because you learn how to use tools, computers and things that you’ll probably never be exposed to until college,” he said. “FIRST prides itself not only being a competition, but it sends the messages as well as they can to not just beat the other team, but help them while you’re at it — help them become better, help them improve.

Amy Rock, a parent of a team member said, the FIRST Robotics Team really plays well into Carney-Nadeau’s curriculum quite well.

“The Carney Schools are now doing an agriculture science program as part of its school curriculum and it happens to be the only one in the Upper Peninsula that is certified,” she explained. “This kind of dovetails well with the robotics here because agricultural engineering is a booming field right now.

“There are huge innovations happening in the areas of farm machinery and infrastructure. It’s just a booming area and it works with robotics, which very much has an engineering, STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) based program.”

Currently the team is fundraising to be able to attend the national championship.

“We’re received a lot of support from the community,” Janofski said. “it’s not just about building the robot, it’s about community outreach and what the team can do for their school. We’re currently fundraising to go to nationals. that’s going to cost somewhere between $8,000 to $10,000.”

The team has set up a Go Fund Me page, to help with the costs of the trip. For those who are interested in donating, visit https://www.gofundme.com/wolf-robotics-world-championships.

“There will be people from all over the world there,” Janofski said. “The team will be able to come together over a common interest and learn of different cultures.”