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“Sport for the mind:” 23 high school robotics teams put their robots to the test in mock competition

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SUSSEX (WITI) -- Twenty-three robotics teams from all over the state of Wisconsin came together at Hamilton High School in Sussex on Sunday, February 15th to test their skills and strategy in a mock competition.

This mock competition included real teams and fans in a sport that relies on teamwork and strategy.

"This is sport for the mind," Keri Woods, the co-advisor for the "Charger Robotics" team from Hamilton High School said.

The 2015 Charger Robotics Mini-Regional Mock Competition was an opportunity for high school robotics teams to test out their creation.

"Every year we try to tackle a new challenge and expand our team, expand our horizons and just grow," Jacob Holiday with Brookfield "Beast Robotics," from Brookfield East High School said.

For many teams, it was the only chance to test their robots on an actual course. This year, there were 23 teams competing.

"It`s just nice to see so many new faces that become interested in science and technology," Adam Klager with Charger Robotics said.

FIRST Robotics was designed to give students who don't want to play sports or join the band something competitive to do. The program helps to build students' minds and increase their self-esteem.

"A lot of these kids have learned to talk to other kids and adults because of this program," Woods said.

The program was founded in 1989 to inspire young people's interest in science and technology. Klager has been a part of the Charger Robotics team since his freshman year, and he's now the team's leader.

"It`s just kind of the way of the future. We can`t keep improving unless we have engineers and people who are working with technology to make everything better," Klager said.

The teams had six weeks to build their robots for this year's competition called "Recycle Rush." The team gets points for every plastic box their robot can stack. The robots are computer programmed and are controlled using video game controllers.

"We figured video game controls work the best because most people have played video games before and they know, they`re used to holding a controller and using it," Klager said.

Thanks to this training, many of these robotics students have gone on to high-level engineering training and jobs.

Following Sunday's mock competition, the teams will move on to the regional competition set for March.

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