Portage Robotics is Headed Back to the World Championships!

Porta-Botz! middle school Team “2568K”, Ilija Kirov and Grant Kappes, and college team “Porta”, Connor Edwards, Payton Bailey, and Scott Watson both won the “Excellence Award” at their respective World Qualifying tournaments. 2568K earned their award at the Indiana State Robotics Championships, and team Porta earned theirs at the Midwest US Qualifier at Purdue University. The Excellence Award is the highest honor a robotics team can earn and is presented to the overall best robotics program. And, the Porta-Botz! are honored to have two teams receive this distinction.

State Championships Recap:
5 Porta-Botz! teams traveled to Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis on March 9th to complete against a field of 60 teams at the State Robotics Championships. Operating under a blended format this year, high school and middle teams competed together. Portage schools were represented by 2 middle and 3 high school teams.

With no separate state tournament for middle school this year, the 2568K’s Excellence Award was their State Championship. Finishing in the top 20 through qualifying and leading all middle school teams, 2568K’s day ended in the first round of Eliminations when they were defeated by the eventual high school State Champions and ranked #1 and #4 ranked robots in the World!

The other middle school team to represent Portage at State was "2568S”- Jimmy Scanlan, Jackie Wozniak, and Caiden Shultz. Facing a tough schedule vs. high school teams all day, they were resilient battling technical difficulties with the robot to finish 2nd among middle schools in the Skills Challenges and 45th overall in the blended field.

High school Porta-Botz! team “2567A” - Sanja Kirov, Kelly Schafer, Zander Gomolinski, Jace Thomas, Jared Walczak, and Myles Kappes, led the way for Portage Robotics finishing 9th overall with a 5-1 record through qualifying. A judgment call, after match scoring was complete, resulted in a disqualification to account for the only loss, fatefully dropping them from 2nd to 9th. Demonstrating poise, “2567A” regrouped to prepare for Interviews. They received an unusual 3rd interview signaling contention for a judged Award, narrowly missing out. During the Elimination rounds they were upset in the first bracket-round by 1 point on yet another judgment call. Their focus now turn to the National tournament.

High school teams “2567E” – Kassy Garay, Jeremiah Nelson, Declan McKee, Danny Shelton, and Mireina Keith and team “2567B” – Zach Yong, Daniel Creators, Spencer Perry, and Logan Szparaga experienced the rigors and reality of how competitive State is. Both teams responded well to tournament challenges but were unable to sustain momentum. Their State experience will pay dividends in the future and they were fine representatives for the Porta-Botz! and Portage community.

In all, 5 of the 60 State teams were Porta-Botz! and they received numerous compliments for their conduct. To add a little flair to the tournament, Porta-Botz! own Coach James Kirk was the tournament announcer keeping the commentary colorful and exciting. A large caravan of parents and supporters made their way to Indianapolis to support the Porta-Botz! and their cheers could be heard through the stadium. And, a debt of gratitude is owed to the program’s Community Partners who financed the trip to State.

Some dreams were dashed and others fulfilled. What matters is the journey, process, growth, and pursuit of excellence. Either way, it was a great day for the Porta-Botz!

Portage Robotics now turns its focus to the National tournament in Council Bluffs, IA. 4 Porta-Botz! teams earned berths through regular season qualifying tournaments and will represent the Portage community from April 4th through 7th in pursuit of their robotic dreams.

To learn more about Portage Robotics or to support their Booster Club campaign to send teams to the National and World Championships, visit: