Summary of Lansing FRC Regional 2016, March 24, 25, 26

This past weekend the Jonesville HS robotic team (#5502, The Cobrots) teamed up with the Comets from Grand Rapids, and the Robotarians from Coloma to win the prestigious Lansing FRC Regional held at Mason high school in front of a capacity crowd.

The Cobrots had to overcome many technical difficulties in the course of the two days of competition. Initially they had to overcome some software programming bugs that kept them from getting any practice time prior to the first match and then had to rebuild and combine gear-motors several times over the course of the matches as the impact was damaging the gear teeth on one mechanism. Other mechanisms that were added in the ‘unbag’ time since the last event had to be cut off and reassembled three times before a functional and reliable location could be found that would hold up to the brutal course.

The drive team (Randal McDowell, Gleb Goryunov, Steven Koppel, and Brody Longman) who just a couple weeks ago helped set the high score at the Kettering University Regional had their resolve tested over the two days as they scored poorly and they struggled to execute many tasks, specifically the castle climb, which the team became known for. But over time, as they solved their technical problems, their scoring consistency returned and they again became recognized as the team having not only the coolest shirts (designed by teammate Alivia Rebeck), but also having a robot that can consistently execute the exciting castle climb in the last 20 seconds of play. With only two team members available for talent scouting, Michael Pope, Alivia Rebeck had their hands full evaluating and ranking the other robots. Luckily we were recruited by the alliance of the Comets and Robotarians and so they did not have to make the difficult decision of who to partner with.

In the first round of playoff competition, the team’s role as defender subjected their robot to extraordinary abuse as it repeatedly was pummeled by an aggressive robot of the other alliance as the Cobrot fought to protect our alliances goal scorer from the abuse. The Cobrot held strong and the opponent was eventually disabled by the referee for excessive contact penalty points. Again, to the delight of the crowd, the Cobrot climbed the castle at the end of the match. One time with less than a second to spare.

In the semifinals the Cobrots role was to traverse challenging obstacles as it delivered scoring balls to the goal shooter. They were so effective at this that for the second regional in a row the team was involved with setting the event’s highest score. An amazing 177 points, eclipsing the 160 they achieved at Kettering.

Moving on to the double elimination final, the team narrowly won the first match but then a scoring issue resulted in a stressful delay to determine the outcome. In a bit of a ‘Steve Karvey’ moment the officials declared the Jonesville alliance the winner and then after 10 seconds declared that to be incorrect and that indeed the other alliance had won taking it down to a winner take all last match.

After all that drama, the final was a bit less eventful as the Jonesville alliance scored more effectively and the Cobrot sealed the deal with another exciting castle climb. Although stressfully, this time it took three heart stopping attempts before the latch held. They were now champions!

The Jonesville robot team could not work with this cool technology and gain the valuable lessons and skills without the help of Martinrea, Cobra Moto, Mr Rooter, Ross Engineering and Design, Orbitform, Stockhouse Printing, Vertex Pistons, Jonesville Tool, The Rotary, The Kiwanis, Nefco, Jonesville Lumber.

You can follow the team as they advance on to the State Championship in Grand Rapids April 14-16 at #JonesvilleRobotics and


Team picture from Left to Right.  Gleb Goryunov, Brody Longman, Steve Koppel, Randal McDowell, Michael Pope, Georgia McDowell, Coach Phil McDowell, and Mentor Jared Page.




Summary of Kettering Regional 2016, March 3, 4, & 5

Prior to arriving at Kettering Thursday evening for the five hour open work/practice time, you may recall that the team had realized that their robot was “out of spec” after work completion date (“bag day”) and had used their only available six hours of ‘unbag’ time to cut apart the robot and rebuild it to legal specifications. When it had went into the bag and the end of the six hour unbag day the robot was together but not working.


Arriving at Kettering University we had five hours Thursday evening to finish building the robot, get it working, and pass official inspection. With any time left over we could practice.


With a half hour left to go Thursday evening, the stressed out team members finally passed inspection!


The Friday morning practice session was used to sort out the teams “autonomous” portion of the software. This is the 15 second period of each match where the students’ java programming skills make the robot work without driver interaction.


There was no time for driver operated practice so tensions were high as the students prepared for their first match. On the field in front of the capacity Kettering crowd, their robot crossed their first untested challenge (officially called a “defense”) and then promptly lost their battery.


From that low point, the team rebounded to become only the second team at the event to successfully scale the castle wall, and the soon became the first repeat climber. In fact the team became known as “the climbers” as the machine did is quite reliably.

At the end of two days of qualification matches, the Jonesville 5502 Cobrots were in 17th position in the standings of 40 teams. The team was proud.


They were even prouder when they were selected early in the second round of championship team selection. This allowed them to compete through quarterfinals and semifinals competitions in hope of reaching the finals.


Going into the quarterfinals as the 7th seed of 8 teams they were certainly an underdog. They surprised the capacity crowd by beating the 2nd seed team in best of three matches while achieving the weekends high score of 160 (55 of which were scored by the 5502 Jonesville Cobrot, which single handedly cleared 3 defenses and then scaled the tower).


The success story ends here though as the team got bumped from the semi-finals. Their high score of 160 stood throughout the weekend and the team that beat them eventually won the championship.


The Martinrea, Cobra Moto, Ross Engineering, Mr Rooter, Orbitform, Vertex Piston, Stockhouse, Jonesville Tool, Jonesville Lumber, NEFCO, Rotary and Kiwanis backed team will only have limited time to improve their robot before their next competition at Mason HS March 25 & 26.


Steven Koppel, Gleb Goryunov, Randal McDowell getting ready to drive in a match.
The Jonesville Cobra #5502 after another successful climb.
The Jonesville Cobra #5502 after another successful climb.
Randal McDowell, Alivia Rebeck, Phil McDowell, Steven Koppel, Gleb Goryunov, Jared Page.
Randal McDowell, Alivia Rebeck, Phil McDowell, Steven Koppel, Gleb Goryunov, Jared Page.
Michael Pope, Phil McDowell, Steve Koppel, Nick Roden, Gleb Goryunov, Randal McDowell.
Michael Pope, Phil McDowell, Steve Koppel, Nick Roden, Gleb Goryunov, Randal McDowell.



New Partner

Orbitform in Jackson was impressed with the team at the Hillsdale fair and parade and have agreed to partner with us.  I know Orbitform is a world leader in fastening and joining but not much else. The team is set to visit them this Wednesday (Oct 14) for a demo and a tour. We’ll know a lot more after that. Glad to have you with us.orbitform

Shoutout to Mr. Rooter

With great enthusiasm, Jonesville Robotics welcomes the continued support of the team’s very first hard earned sponsor. The greatest plumbing bunch in the state, Mr Rooter has committed to continuing their support again for 2015/2016 season.  Please welcome them back by utilizing their cost effective and efficient resources to solve your plumbing and septic needs. I assume they’ll be at the fair again. Stop in the merchant building and ask them about their robot. Maybe we’ll have a battle with it.mrrooterlogo

The Cobrots Welcome More Sponsors

First, thanks to Georgia McDowell’s help at the presentation to the Rotary Club at Olivia’s Chop House a couple weeks ago, we now have the support of our local Rotary club.

Second, Jonesville Lumber has agreed to help us with material for the Robot Parade Demonstrator. What is a Robot Parade Demonstrator? Well the kids can make our robot do some extremely amazing things but driving on the paved streets of Hillsdale is not the best way to show case them. What the team plans to do is operate the robot from the back of a pick-up truck while the robot is doing it’s ‘thing’ on a trailer being pulled by the truck. Will it work? Will it fall off the side? We’ll have to wait and see but a big things to Jonesville Lumber for the support.

Latest but certainly not least, is the awesome folks from Pivot Works, Hot Rods, Hot Cams, Cylinder Works, and Vertex Pistons. While the Cobrots do not have pistons, cams or cylinders on their robot yet, we know that these guys are the best source for getting bearing kits, pistons, cams and other replacement parts for your motorcycles or other recreational powersport.



The Cobrots Hard at Work.

On February 7 the Cobrots had a meeting at Cobra motorcycle and did a lot of productive work. We got the robot winch to lift  75 lbs! Also, Alivia Rebeck made T-Shirt designs that are available for purchase for 35$. For more information on buying one E-Mail Phil at or use our nifty contact form! There is one week left until ‘Bag Day’ when we finish the robot completely for the competition. The dates of all of the competitions and events are on the Calendar in the Schedule section.

Finally here are some pictures from the last meeting at cobra!


Justin, Dominik, and Randall assembling the robot.

Assembling the robot

Sean Mapes doing some welding.

Sean Mapes welding

Kelsey and Blake doing some more assembling.

Doing some steel work

The team with the robot.

Team at cobra