It was a clash of the metallic titans as nearly 40 high school teams from Utah and elsewhere converged at the Maverik Center in West Valley City for the annual Utah Regional FIRST Robotics Competition.

This year’s event, held March 18 and 19, involved students building and controlling robots that catapulted balls into castle windows. High schools that participated in this regional event came from as far away as Florida, Hawaii and Alberta, Canada. Twenty-one of the teams were from Utah.

The winners of the regional competition now move on to the FIRST national championship in St. Louis. That event will be held April 27 – 30.

“The FIRST Robotics competition has done as much as any other program to increase interest in engineering among high school students,” said Richard B. Brown, dean of the College of Engineering at the University of Utah, who kicked off the event during the first day’s opening ceremony. “Competition is motivating, and these teams work very hard as they learn about not only robotics but also electronics, materials, wireless communication, computer programming, problem solving and teamwork.”

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