First Washington Robotics Competition a success - NBC Right Now/KNDO/KNDU Tri-Cities, Yakima, WA |

First Washington Robotics Competition a success

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YAKIMA, WA - More than 1,000 Washington and Oregon high school students were in Yakima over the weekend, competing the the first Washington Robotics Competition.

There are 31 teams with 28 students in each team. Local high schools in this year's contest included the Wapato Robo Sparks, Umatilla's Confidential Team and Kittitas County Robotics/Team Haywire from Thorp.

All of the students have spent countless hours since the beginning of the year to get to this moment.

"Robotics is a great way to start my career in engineering," said Daryll Diga, a Wapato High School junior. "It also helps us get a better background when we join engineering universities." 

Under strict rules, limited resources, and time limits, six teams create two alliances to play what is basically a real life video game.

"So the game is to take over both the switches and the scales using the cube," explained Diga. "At the end of the game there's a 30-second key window where a robot must climb on the scale and it determines whether or not you win or lose."

Top teams from this competition advance to the Pacific Northwest Championship in Portland next month. 

Washington State is #2 in the U.S. for STEM jobs, but it ranks next to last in the number of qualified candidates for those positions.

If you'd like to learn about how to get involved in robotics, visit www.firstwa.or.