About us

FRC Team #5980

History of team 5980


Season 1 2015-2016

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, the team 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 nearby robotics team FRC 5473, Team Spitfire, from the West Michigan Aviation Academy. Team 5980 quickly learned the importance of organized and structured subteams 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 Xth and Xth before qualifying for the Michigan state competition. There, Team 5980 finished in Xth place and qualified for the World Championships in St. Louis -- in just its first year.


Season 2 2016-2017

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 place 56th.