About us

FRC Team #5980

History of team 5980

Season 1 2015-2016

Team 5980 was 39-23-0 in official play and 43-28-0 overall in 2016. As a member of the FIRST In Michigan district, Team 5980 ranked 13 having earned 225 points.

Team 5980 was established in the late summer of 2015. Oliver Vandenberg and other seniors set their minds on creating a FIRST robotics team. That autumn, David Price, the coach of FRC 5473, Team Spitfire, from the West Michigan Aviation Academy, gave a presentation in the Little Auditorium to potential EGR members (students and parents) on the topic "What is FIRST?".  The team then began meeting biweekly in the school library with the support of Dr. Betsy Neubig, Oliver’s mother.

Team members had no knowledge of what was to be expected; they got started by working on miniature robotic arms and other erector sets. Shortly after, the team began receiving assistance from FRC 5473, Team Spitfire, both technically, but also on the engineering log, the business plan, and other team management and judging artifacts. Team 5980 quickly learned the importance of organized and structured sub-teams and caught a glimpse of the standard FIRST robot parts. Mentor David Austin from FRC 4003, The Trisonics, helped immensely by preparing the programming team for the build season.

Despite a slow and tenuous start, Team 5980 was on its way to a meaningful, important, and successful season. The team performed well in district competitions and was a trusty Alliance pick, finishing 10th and 6th before qualifying for the Michigan state competition. There, Team 5980 finished in 5th place and qualified for the World Championships in St. Louis -- in just its first year.


Season 2 2016-2017

Team 5980 was 31-26-1 in official play and 42-34-1 overall in 2017. As a member of the FIRST In Michigan district, Team 5980 ranked 84 having earned 145 points

Over the 2016-2017 season, the team grew in size with many new student members as well as mentors. The pre-season was off to a great start with many people interested in joining, which helped grow our numbers as well as popularity. The team began meeting in the band room of the high school during the late summer and early fall but then moved to the Learning Commons for meetings in late fall and winter before the season officially started.

In late August and through September, David Austin from Team 4003 TriSonics assisted the team by offering coding workshops for anyone who had an interest in pursuing that for their job on the team. With the help of our main business mentor, David Price, the team began to discuss business plans before the game reveal. This was important for everyone to know - but especially the new members - so they would know what to expect for the upcoming season. In addition, mentor James Strodtbeck offered tribal technology workshops for the team to learn specific skills such as using power tools, welding, learning to tap and dye, measuring with calipers, and many more skills.

By the first competition at Lakeview High School, the team made it to the Semi Finals and placed 9th overall and also won the District Engineering Inspiration Award. At the next competition at Grand Valley State University, the team placed first and won with alliance partners Team 5675 WiredCats and Team 141 WOBOT as well as winning the Creativity Award by Xerox.

At this point the team qualified for states hosted at Saginaw Valley State University and would go on to place 31st and win the Quality Award by Motorola. While we did not believe that we would qualify for Worlds, after all the points were calculated the team qualified to make the trip to St. Louis and compete in the Curie Division, and placed 56th.


Season 3 2017-2018

Team 5980 was 26-36-0 in official play and 34-41-0 overall in 2018. As a member of the FIRST In Michigan district, Team 5980 ranked 76 having earned 155 points.

During the summer of 2017, the team mentored Team Niger in the inaugural FIRST Global season.  This was the result of a conversation that Mr. Price had with Dean Kamen at the FIRST Championships in April where Dean invited Mr. Price to attend the competition.  Mr. Price took this a step further by engaging the team in mentoring, but he also served as one of the 14 selected global judges for the competition in Washington, D.C.

After the initial the explosion in growth of the team in our second year, the team scaled down. Our mentors and students were more experience lending towards a better season. Unfortunately our lead design and build coach had to step down due to his prior business commitments. This left the team without a true sense of leadership in that Area. The Teams coach James Strodtbeck and Mentor Dr. Luce stepped up to fill the role. The game objective of the 2018 season was to pick up and place milk crates place milk crates at various heights around the field. Having seen success in the previous season, the goal of the team was to create a robot that could do all tasks of the game. Unfortunately the team was unable to complete this goal and ended up creating a bot that could perform 2 of 4 of the major tasks.

The team went heavily unprepared into our first event at St. Joseph High School. With the help of other teams at the event we were able to field a robot. On the second day Team 5980 was selected to be on the 7th alliance with teams 470 and 4409. The team would play in the quarterfinals and lose in the tie breaker. We also won the Entrepreneurship Award awarding us district ranking points.

Team 5980 went into their home event a few weeks later knowing that a better performance was required for qualification to the District Championship. We were able to add an end game mechanism with the help of our returning Design and Build Coach. After adapting our robot to the game and developing our autonomous programs the team was able to find ourselves in the captain position of the 6th alliance. We selected teams 74 and 6548. We were able to again make it to the finals in playoffs where we lost to teams 4003, 85, and 5927. We ended the event as a finalist with a win loss record of 10-10 and won the Quality Award.

The success of our home event qualified the team for the State championship. There we would be ranked 36 and compete in the semifinals with 1918 and 1023. With the help of wining the Judges Award, the team qualified for the FIRST© Championship in Detroit, Michigan. The team ranked 37 on the Tesla Field and would join the 4th Alliance with 340, 319, and 238 where we would lose in the Quarterfinals.

Season 4 2018-2019

Team 5980 was 9-19-0 in official play and 9-19-0 overall in 2019. As a member of the FIRST In Michigan district, Team 5980 ranked 312 having earned 40 points.

The team decided to again sign up for mentoring a FIRST Global Team.  Jack Lang promoted the idea among the students and became a leader of the effort.  This year, the team was chosen by FIRST Global to mentor Team Tanzania.  During the summer, the team met often for Skype and WhatsApp video calls with Team Tanzania to help them build their robot.  Mr. Price also served as a judge again for the competition held in Mexico City, Mexico.  Later in the fall, the team had a meet-n-greet with Team Tunisia to share ideas and think about ways to collaborate.

The team competed again at St. Joseph, finishing in 24th place.  The team was selected by the alliance consisting of teams 5152 and 85, but lost in the quarter-finals in two straight matches.

The team also competed at West Michigan, finishing in 26th place.  The team was selected by the alliance consisting of teams 141 and 5227, but lost in the quarter-finals in two straight matches.  The team was awarded for its efforts on the business plan by being presented the Entrepreneurship Award sponsored by Kleiner Perkins Caufield and Byers.

Season 5 2019-2020

Team 5980 was 5-12-0 in official play and 5-12-0 overall in 2020. As a member of the FIRST In Michigan district, Team 5980 ranked x having earned x points.

The team has 26 students - 4 seniors, 2 juniors, 12 sophomores, and 8 freshman - and is hungry to return to States and to Worlds.  The team signed up to compete in St. Joseph and West Michigan again.

While the team did not officially mentor any FIRST Global teams, the team was very actively engaged through Mr. Price.  During the summer, Mr. Price met with Team Iceland in Reykjavik while in Iceland for vacation.  Instantly, both Mr. Price and the Icelandic leadership had similar objectives....to roll out FTC across all of Iceland.  Mr. Price served as a judge again to the competition held in Dubai, but also mentored Team Iceland, who made a request for FRC 5980 to mentor Team Iceland.  After the Dubai competition, Dean invited Mr. Price to join his advisory board for FIRST Global, while Mr. Price continued to engage the team with various global teams for cultural awareness opportunities.  The team has already met virtually via WhatsApp or Skype with Team Comoros, Team Namibia, and Team Norway, and plans to meet with many more. Team 5980 has had a memorable season already in sending a box of books to Comoros and helping Team Norway procure parts for their Mars Rover project. EGR...now it stands for Excellece in Global Relations!

The team also had a lot of fun mentoring FRC 8275, Technical Difficulties, a rookie team from Lake Michigan Academy. On a few occasions, members of FRC 5980 went to their school, but mostly FRC 8275 came to EGR to benefit from our tools, mentors, and students. It was a great experience.

Team 5980 nominated Norah M. and Ryan S. as our Dean's List candidates, Mr. Price as our Woodie Flowers Award candidate, and submitted for the Chairman's Award for the first time in team history.

St. Joseph FiM District - March 6-7, 2020

The team went into the competition with high spirits with a solid robot and good messages to share with the judges about the pre-season and our future plans. On Day 1, issues presumably with the roborio and then with climber started to set in, leaving the team with a 2-6 record, but feeling confident for Day 2 as we thought the issues had been worked out. On Day 2, the robot worked quite well, but the team lost all 4 matches. Being in 38th place out of 40 was a bit unsettling, but the top alliance of FRC 2337, EnginNERDS, and two-time world champion FRC 2767, StrykeForce, were able to discern our true capabilities vs. our ranking. We quickly dispatched the opposing alliance in the quarter-finals, but bad luck set in during the semi-finals. In Match 1, the alliance was assessed a 15 point penalty (7 balls @ 15 points each). Not fazed by being down 0-1, Alliance #1 won the Match #2, setting up the rubber match. Match #3 was an epic match up, but the underdogs were able to triple climb while Alliance #1 wasn't able to, making the difference. While disappointing, the team was awarded the Judges Award for our outreach, locally and globally. The team also enjoyed assisting FRC 8363, a rookie team from Marcellus (near Kalamazoo). Since FRC 8275 competed in the Jackson FiM the same weekend, we arrange for the WildCats to oversee them. As it turned out, their mentee team, 8363, competed at St. Joseph, so for a weekend, we swapped mentee teams with each winning the Rookie Inspiration Award in their respective competitions.

West Michigan FiM District - March 20-21, 2020

While the robotics portion of the event was cancelled due to the pandemic, EGR was awarded its first ever Chairman's Award!!!!

Season 6 2020-2021

Team 5980 competed virtually in the FIRST In Michigan district. The kickoff was held Saturday, January 9th, 2020 at noon. We viewed this together via zoom and then discussed our plan of action after the reveal. Zoom became our best friend.

Of the 3 challenges offered for the 2021 season, the team opted for the following

  • @Home Challenge
  • Game Design

The team also made Chairman's a goal.

On Saturday, February 20, 2021 Team 5980 continued our quest to connect with teams from around the globe to gain cultural awareness and meet like-minded students. This time we held a Zoom call with Team Ro2D2, an FTC team from Ploiesti, Romania. We had a great time meeting with students Stefan, Alex, and Andrei-Cristian. We learned a lot about their team, their environment, and how they have adjusted to the pandemic...Thanks and best of luck at your regional competition!!! The video of our Zoom call is in the link below.

Video of EGR Robotics and Ro2D2 Zoom call

Here are some very notable points of interest from the season:

  • Woodie Flowers Award - The team nominated Ms. Murphy (and very deservedly so!)
  • Dean's List Award - The team nominated Clark and Sophie, two tremendous student leaders. After interviewing, both were chosen by the judges as semi-finalists, winning opportunity to interview at state level (team's first ever)
  • Chairman's Award - Team won its second Chairman's, and second in a row, winning opportunity to interview at state level (team's first ever)
  • Skills @Home Challenge - Team took 14th place in Tellurium group - very impressive!