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Students compete in statewide robotics challenge

Students compete in statewide robotics challenge

PUEBLO, Colo. - Some of Colorado's youngest inventors were in Pueblo on Sunday, competing in the statewide VEX Robotics competition at CSU-Pueblo.

Middle school and high school students spent months building their robot and programming it. They competed against robotics teams from all over Colorado.

"Sometimes your parts just break and sometimes you just do great," said Michel Gross, a student competing from Arvada.

Gross is on team 1826B. He's one of the masterminds behind the robot The Fuse. The goal of the competitions is to take saks and place them on troughs or high goals. But there's a catch. Another team can remove those saks. That's why The Fuse designed its robot claws so it could easily snatch the sacks from an opposing team.

"It's not as much stressful for me. It's just going through the game, making sure that I score as many points as I can score, and I do the best that I can do," said Joshua Tuinder, a high school senior from Arvada.

Tuinder and his team have a winning history, even placing second in their division in the world championship. But Sunday afternoon there was a slight hiccup during one match.

Gross said, "Our motors got unplugged, our right motor so that pretty much just left us dead in the water so that's why we lost that match."

Despite the frustration, Gross says he wants to be an engineer, like many others who compete in robotics.

"I think that's what gets me excited is when I see kids who weren't necessarily good students- you have a lot of that- suddenly become very engaged and then it just turns them around," said Liz Rayment, president of Action Works.

There were no teams competing from Pueblo or Colorado Springs, but organizers say there are grants available for schools that would like to start a robotics team. For information on grants, contact Rayment at liz.rayment@action-works.org or call 970-646-6226.

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