Our Team

Team History

The Mech Warriors were founded in 2001 by Brother Rice High School teachers Ken Kandt and Michael Hoch. The team started out strong and was a fierce contender at multiple competitions. FRC Team 573 was good enough in their rookie year to earn the Rookie All-Star award at the West Michigan Regional. The Mech Warriors joined OCCRA (Oakland County Competitive Robotics Association) in the fall of 2002. The team started out with a bang and won a slew of awards in their OCCRA rookie year.

In 2003, the Brother Rice Mech Warriors opened the team to Marian, Brother Rice’s sister school. To recognize the girls’ role on the team, 573 incorporated the girls’ school uniform, skirts, into the team uniform. Ever since, the team has had a tradition of wearing plaid skirts and ‘skirting’ their alliance partners’ drive teams in elimination matches.

In 2004, the team lost its funding from its two corporate sponsors, Iroquois Industries and Delta Tooling. Team 1, The Juggernauts, welcomed the Mech Warriors for the year. In 2005, FRC Team 573 gained sponsorship from the Chrysler Foundation. Over the next couple of years, Ellen Twomey and Joe Kalczynski took over as head coaches.

One of the team’s shining moments was in 2007, when the Mech Warriors won the Great Lakes Regional while partnered up with teams 503 and 1015, giving them their first Blue Banner.

In 2010, Team 573 achieved another shining moment when they won another blue banner at the Ann Arbor District event in Michigan. At the end of qualification matches, we were ranked third and picked teams 66 and 2337.

In 2011 and 2012, we added more mentors, and more outreach. We began a relationship with the Cranbrook Institute of Science, and with the Children’s Hospital at William Beaumont Hospital in Royal Oak, Michigan. In cooperation with these two well-respected institutions, we are bringing the FIRST message to families and children throughout the southeastern Michigan area.

Awards & Milestones

2001 (Rookie year)

  • Finalist in the Great Lakes Regional
  • Curie Division finalist
  • Rookie All-Star Award at the West Michigan Regional winners



  • Joined by Girls from Marian
  • Won the Xerox Creativity Award at the Buckeye Regional
  • Engineering Inspiration Award winners at the West Michigan Regional



  • Lost funding
  • Joined FRC Team 1, the Juggernauts, during this year



  • Gained sponsorship from Daimler Chrysler
  • Won the RadioShack Innovation in Control Award at the Great Lakes Regional



  • Great Lakes Regional winners
  • Johnson and Johnson Sportsmanship Award at the Boilermaker Regional winner



  • Chrysler Team Spirit award Winner – Great Lakes Regional
  • Two “Speed Demon” awards from FRC Team 291 CIA
  • Coolest Team Uniform from Lightning Robotics FRC Team 861



  • Team 573 welcomes Diversified Tooling Group as one of the team sponsors
  • Best Website Award – Cass Tech FIRST Robotics District Competition
  • Coach Tom Barch is nominated for the Woodie Flowers Finalist Award at the Troy District Event



  • Ann Arbor FIRST Robotics District Winner
  • Imagery Award in honor of Jack Kamen winner – Ann Arbor FIRST Robotics District Competition
  • Gracious Professionalism Award sponsored by Johnson & Johnson winner- Troy
  • Website Award winner – Troy FIRST Robotics District Competition
  • Quarter finalists – Curie Division


  • Industrial Design Award Winner at Waterford district
  • 1st seed team – Waterford District
  • Website Award Winner – Ann Arbor district
  • Team Spirit award Winner – Ann Arbor district


  • Waterford District finalists
  • Semi-finalists – Galileo Division


  • Team Spirit Award Winner – Waterford and Grand Blanc Districts
  • Bedford Dstrict Finalist


  • Excellence in Engineering  – Southfield District
  • Creativity Award-Waterford District
  • Curie Division finalist