Goodrich remains TOP DOG

Sep 2, 2004

The Goodrich Martians maintained their #1 ranking by sharing top honors with Las Guerrillas (Team 469) from Bloomfield Hills and Techno Gremlins (Team 1227) from Grand Rapids.

2004 National Champions Goodrich Martians share #1 honors at Kettering Kickoff

The Goodrich Martians (Team 494) led an alliance with Las Guerrillas (Team 469) from Bloomfield Hills and Techno Gremlins (Team 1227) from Grand Rapids to win the 2004 Kettering Kickoff robotics contest Saturday, Sept. 18, in Flint. The Goodrich Martians -- currently ranked #1 in the country -- formed a winning alliance with Team 469 and Team 1227 to take top honors at the fifth annual event.

The Kettering Kickoff features robots built by high school students and their engineering mentors. The high school robotics competition is affiliated with FIRST (For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology), a national effort to inspire youth to explore career possibilities in engineering, science and technology.

The event is a head-to-head competition between large radio-controlled robots built by teams of high school students and sponsoring engineers. Twenty-six teams, mostly from Michigan, participated.

Taking second place honors was an alliance of:
Swartz Creek Dragons (Team 1243) from Swartz Creek,
Team Rush (Team 27) from Clarkston, and
BOB (Built on Brains) (Team 85) from Zeeland.

"What a great competition to celebrate our fifth anniversary," said Kettering Kickoff Founder Bob Nichols, Kettering's vice president for Enrollment Management. "The organizing committee was honored with the spirit and skill of the 26 teams that competed this year."


Team Rush (Team 27) from Clarkston received the #1 Seed Award.

The Top Score Award was presented to the Killer Bees (Team 33) from Auburn Hills and the Saginaw Career Complex (Team 703) from Saginaw.

The Robot Design Excellence Award was presented to BOB (Built on Brains) (Team 85) from Zeeland.

Chief Delphi from Pontiac Central High School (Team 47) won the Spirit of FIRST Award.

Onespecial presentation was made during closing ceremonies. Kettering's Sally Hicks, executive secretary in Enrollment Management, was given an Outstanding Service Award for her dedication and ongoing helpfulness to the annual contest.

Kettering Kickoff is hosted the third Saturday of September each year.

Kettering Kickoff is co-hosted by:
Team 49 Buena Vista Dow Knights,
Team 70 Kettering/GASC Technology Center Auto City Bandits,
Team 217 Thunder Chickens,
Team 314 Carman-Ainsworth Megatron Oracles,
Team 322 Flint Schools F.I.R.E. Team,
Team 397 Flint Southwestern Delphi Knight Riders,
Team 468 Baker College Explorers,
Team 494 Goodrich Martians -- currently ranked #1 in the United States!!
Team 1243 GM/Swartz Creek High School,
Team 1322 The G.R.A.Y.T. Leviathons.

Kettering Kickoff is also sponsored by Soroc Products and Genesee Area Skill Center.

This year's participating teams were: (Team, City, FIRSTTeam #)
Robocards, Melvindale, Team 5,
Team Rush, Clarkston, Team 27,
Killer Bees, Auburn Hills, Team 33,
ChiefDelphi, Pontiac, Team 47,
Buena Vista Dow Knights, Saginaw, Team 49,
Truck Town Thunder, Auburn Hills, Team 68,
Auto City Bandits, Flint, Team 70,
BOB, Zeeland, Team 85,
Thunder Chickens, Utica, Team 217,
Tec Crew Hammerheads, Troy, Team 226,
Carman-Ainsworth Megatron Oracles, Flint, Team 314,
F.I.R.E., Flint, Team 322,
Southwestern Academy Knight Riders, Flint, Team 397,
Cranbrook/GM, Bloomfield Hills, Team 448,
Cat Attack, Sylvania, Ohio, Team 451,
Explorers, Flint, Team 468,
Las Guerillas, West Bloomfield, Team 469,
Goodrich Martians, Goodrich, Team 494,
Saginaw Career Complex, Saginaw, Team 703,
Genesis 02, Warren, Team 818,
Oaktown Crewz, Royal Oak, Team 1188,
Techno Gremlins, Grand Rapids, Team 1227,
GM/Swartz Creek High School, Team 1243,
Technomaniacs, Royal Oak, Team 1286,
The G.R.A.Y.T. Leviathons, Fenton, Team 1322,
Robo, Canton, Ohio, Team 1386.



The Kettering Kickoff began inthe fall of1999.Delphi Automotive had helped start a group of teams in the Flint area. Kettering University joined those teams in supporting FIRST at a number of levels. Besides sponsoring one team, Kettering had seen that the commitment level of students in FIRST would lead to excellent scholars and began offering a FIRST Scholarship for those outstanding participants. Supporters in the Flint area wished to have an activity that would show off their robots, schools, and accomplishments to the local community. They decided that a competition between teams using the robot from the previous year would be a great start for the FIRST season. Twenty-one teams from the region and as far away as South Carolina met at Kettering for the first Kettering Kickoff. The winners in the initial year were: Truck Town Terror, Delphi Knights, and TeamMACOMB.

The Second Annual Kettering Kickoff was Sept 22, 2001, with 20 teams participating. The top seed was The Killer Beesfrom Auburn Hills. GM CreW, TEAM Macomb, and Flint Community School's F.I.R.E. were selected Top Dog. Other awards went to Robocards for Team Work, Truck Town Terror for Robot Design Excellence, Robotic Knights for The Spirit of FIRST and Truck Town Terror, Auto City Bandits and GM CreW for the Best Match.

The Third Annual Kettering Kickoff was Sept 21, 2002, with 18 teams participating. F.I.R.E., along with Knight Riders and Robotic Knights were Top Dog. The other awards: Robot Design Award - Killer Bees; Teamwork Award - Truck Town Terror; Image Award -- Thunder Chickens and Spirit of FIRSTAward -- Chief Delphi.

The Fourth Annual Kettering Kickoff was Sept. 20, 2003, with 25 teams participating. Three Detroit area high school robotics team were the first-place alliance winners: Killer Bees, Notre Dame Preparatory, Auburn Hills, Team 33, Truck Town Thunder, North Oakland County Schools, AuburnHills, Team 68, Genesis 02, Warren Consolidated Schools, Team 818. The second-place winners were a three-team alliance of Goodrich Martians, Goodrich High School, Team 494, Bishop Foley Catholic High School, Madison Heights, Team 910, Grobots, Groves High School, Beverly Hills, Team 1213.

For more information on Kettering Kickoff, email Sally Hicks at

For more on the national effort of FIRST, visit:

Written by Patricia Mroczek
(810) 762-9533