Robotics competition requires smarts, skills and a competitive spirit

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WEST VALLEY CITY, Utah -- Forty eight high school teams converged on the Maverik Center in West Valley City on Friday to compete in the FIRST Robotics Competition.

The students take months to design, build and program robots. They also raise money for their projects.

The results are high-tech machines able to gather materials and deliver them to the appropriate, and precise, locations in a race against time with other teams attempting to accomplish the same goals in the same space.

Coach Chris Clare from Regis Jesuit School in Aurora, Colorado says the greatest reward is watching his students develop new skills over the years.

"Maybe a kid who's good at programming one year wants to build, and you see this incredible growth," said Clare, adding "These kids are doing college level stuff as freshmen in high school."

The University of Utah College of Engineering organizes the regional competition, drawing students from as far away as Canada. Winning teams qualify for the national competition.

The national non-profit in charge of the competition raised enough money to offer $50 million in scholarship funding to participants in 2017.