World Championship Bound!

World Championship Bound!

Lake Orion High School Robotics Team 302 won the Miami Valley Regional robotics tournament on March 9. The win puts the Dragons into the FIRST Robotics World Championship in Detroit in April. Photo courtesy of Bonnie Witcpalek, Team 302.

By Jim Newell

Review Editor

It’s Destination: World Championship for Lake Orion High School Robotics Team 302.

The team qualified for the championship – which will be April 24-27 at the Cobo Center in Detroit – after winning the Miami Valley Regional tournament in Ohio on Saturday.

“(The team) pulled out a win after some tough-fought matches at the Miami Valley Regional this past weekend. After working through numerous technical challenges, from broken motor mounts to computer vision issues, the team wrapped up their first season competition as first place alliance captain,” said Team 302 Co-Business Lead Mentor Bonnie Witcpalek.

Team 302 competed with The Metrobots of Columbus, Ohio, Spartan Robotics from Salem, Virginia, and Digital Fusion from Westerville, Ohio.

“The Dragons also received the Creativity Award for their innovative ‘painting’ method for placing hatch game pieces,” Witcpalek said.

The is the team’s second consecutive win at the Miami tournament and third consecutive trip to the FIRST Robotics World Championship.

The Lake Orion Review is a sponsor of Team 302.

This season’s robotics competition is called Destination: Deep Space, with rockets, cargo ships and other challenges robotics teams must overcome to win points and defeat their opponents.

The 51 students on the team work in a variety of sub-categories – design, coding, marketing, construction, electronics, operations, fabrication – bringing it all together for the finished robot.

Team 302 kicked off the season on Jan. 5 with a 12-hour session in which the details of this year’s competition were revealed. The students then began concept planning and design for their new robot, which they named Ender Dragon.

Team mentors are Rosa Everitt and Sharon Spencer, both engineering design teachers at the high school, along with several parent-mentors who help guide the students throughout the season.

The team’s first district competition is March 17 in Jackson, Michigan.

While the team has qualified for the world championships, it still needs to qualify for the Michigan State Competition by scoring enough points or winning a tournament in the state.

The robotics Michigan State Championship is April 10-13 at Saginaw Valley State University

Last year, Team 302 was ranked 15th out of 508 teams in Michigan. In 2017, Team 302’s three-team alliance finished runners-up at the world championships.

“Our goal is that we want to win all of our competitions, we want to get to the Michigan State (Championship), hopefully win this year, and then Worlds. The goal is always to win the World Championship,” said Cole Jordan, a senior on the team.

For more on the team, visit