ELLENSBURG, WA. -- At Central Washington University they have their own March madness. But it isn't basketball, it's robotics. In the end it teaches teamwork just the same.
With crazy fans, referees and dancing mascots, you would think this is a regular sporting event. But it's robotics.
"I absolutely love it," Jacqueline Bayrouty said.
Jacqueline is a senior part of the Mabton High School team. She's participated in this competition every year since she was 11 and it has inspired her to get a degree in engineering.
"The people here are so amazing," Jacqueline said.
700 high school students from around Washington and Oregon are competing this year. And they're only given 6 weeks to build these fighting machines.
"It is a very very intense period where these high school kids pretty much, sleep, go to school and build robots," Erin McCallum of Washington FIRST Robotics.
Red and blue alliances are formed by combining three high school teams. The teams score by launching the ball through these targets, over this pole or into these containers. And it gets pretty intense.
"By being on a FIRST Robotics team," McCullum said, "you see real life applications to understand why you want to stay in geometry, what calculus means."
"It's broaden my horizons, opened so many doors saying, you know you don't have to go into business," Jacqueline said.
Tens of thousands of dollars goes to putting together a robot. It may be a lot of money and a lot of work but it sure looks fun.
The winners of this competition go on to compete in Portland and then hopefully on to the world competition in St. Louis.