East Tennessee high schoolers compete to build best robot

East Tennessee high schoolers compete to build best robot

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Students from Webb School on Thursday were putting the finishing touches on their team robot. Students from Webb School on Thursday were putting the finishing touches on their team robot.

By JAMIE LYNN DROHAN
6 News Reporter 

KNOXVILLE (WATE) - An organization called FIRST, For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology, is holding its annual robotics competition this weekend in Knoxville.

The competition, dubbed the Smoky Mountain Regional, combines the excitement of sport with the rigors of science and technology.

Students from Webb School on Thursday were putting the finishing touches on their team robot.

They are excited because the competition starts Friday, and it's the first time Knoxville plays host.

"Our team has always had to travel to South Carolina or Georgia to compete so we're really happy to be here in Knoxville," said Dave Pierce, of the Webb School.

There are a total of 47 teams from 10 states participating. Each team builds a robot to compete in a two-day tournament.

Team Webb began working on its robot in early January. With the help of adult mentors, each team had just six weeks to design, build, test and program their robots.

Students worked double time on Thursday since the deadline for inspection is 8:00 p.m.

"There's not that many opportunities in academics to get everyone involved and there's not a huge competition where everyone is watching. This just creates a competitive drive to a really academic thing," said student Ishi Keenum.

This marks Team Webb's eighth year competing and in that time, members have won two regional competitions.

So do they think the third title is the charm? "Uh, yeah," Pierce said with his fingers crossed.

"I hope so. We'll see," Keenum said.

This year's winner will go on to compete at the national championship in St. Louis, Missouri in April.

More than 50 teams are participating in this event, including squads from Webb, Knoxville Catholic High School, Hardin Valley Academy, Farragut High School and Seymour High School. The competition will last until April 2.

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