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FIRST Robotics Competition: Metal meets hardwood as robots take over Panther Arena

MILWAUKEE -- It's a battle of minds and robots at the annual FIRST Robotics Competition in Milwaukee on Saturday, March 25th.

FIRST Robotics Competition

Years of work, months of building, hundreds of hours of planning, all build up to this moment.

FIRST Robotics Competition

"It's a lot of hard work and it's a lot of fun," said Kyle Langreck, Team Hexhounds.

Inside the UW-Milwaukee Panther Arena, roughly 1,500 high school students from across the country come to fight for top place.

"So each team is given six weeks to start designing and finish their construction, and coding of their robot," said Becca Martin, Team Blitz.

FIRST Robotics Competition

The competition is simple -- achieving it is not. Your personally built robot must complete three tasks: shoot balls into a basket, put sprockets onto a peg to turn a turbine and climb a rope -- and make sure you do it better than your opponent.

FIRST Robotics Competition

"FIRST Robotics has programs from Kindergarten all the way through 12th grade so families come down with their children, and they see what`s going on here and even though this is the kids who are in high school there are programs available," said Melody Ricci, FIRST Robotics Competition.

The day's event, drawing crowds into the thousands, seeks to not only foster a sense of community, but also encourage students to pursue careers in math and science.

Kyle Langreck

"It really gets you a lot of experience in the work field; a lot of electrical, mechanical, software. There's a lot of opportunities for all kinds of people depending on what they want to do in their future," said Langreck.

Whether at the sticks or tinkering the pits, engineers say the FIRST Robotics Competition is where they want to be.