Bozeman robotics teams gear up for world championship

The Bozeman High School robotics team practices ahead of its first-ever appearance at the Vex Robotics World Championship.

Students at Sacajawea Middle School and Bozeman High School are in the midst of preparing for their biggest competition yet -- the VEX Robotics World Championship in Kentucky. They'll compete against a combined 1,600 teams from around the world.

Junior Emily Schmidt told NBC Montana Bozeman High will be represented by nine students. The team is responsible for designing, building and programming their robots.

Schmidt will be part of the three-person team in charge of driving the robot, while the other six teammates work to strategize and assist when needed. Typically, Schmidt says, the club is used to competing against about 20 teams.

"It'll just be super exciting and nerve-racking to try and do our very best in the competition with like a thousand teams, as opposed to the 20 we were against before," Schmidt said.

Adviser Karl Schwartz said the team couldn't have gotten to this point without hours of practice during lunch and after school.

"These guys work their butts off. It's really cool. They work really well together," Schwartz said. "Even though there's four robots, it's one team."

The team took home top prize at state this year, which contributed to their win of the Excellence Award and qualifying for Worlds -- their first-ever appearance at the competition.

Schmidt told NBC Montana she's gained experience in the engineering field, but she's also built friendships and learned how to better communicate and solve problems. With just under two weeks left until Worlds, she's ready to put those skills to the test.

"Either way, as long as we do our best, that's I what I want," Schmidt said.

Schwartz said the team is still working to raise funds for its trip to Kentucky. To donate to the team's GoFundMe, click here.

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