Lathrop hosts regional robotics competition

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FAIRBANKS, Alaska - Nine teams of Alaska students formed alliances to capture jewels and steal golden idols at Lathrop High school last Saturday.
Tom Hewitt has the story.
Tom Hewitt; Reporting>>: Teams with names like the Cyber Wolves and Dolphin Attack Squad Four crowded into Lathrop's mat room. But they weren't there to wrestle - it was their robots that were squaring off.
" In 3...2...1... GO."
It's called the First Tech Challenge, a robotics program for middle and high-schoolers. By building robots and programming them to perform specific tasks, competitors score points. Hailey and Sadie Olson of Wasilla, who made up first-place team Frostbyte, say the key to success in robotics is the same as the joke about how to get to Carnegie Hall: Practice, practice, practice.
Hailey and Sadie Olsen; FTC Fairbanks Regional Champions>>: So we do competitive gymnastics for four hours a day, but for the rest of it we're either doing homework or robotics. That's one thing we spend a lot of time practicing. After we had the robot designed and built, it was all practice - constant practicing every day.
Tom Hewitt; Reporting>>: Even practice, however, can only take you so far. To emphasize collaboration, robotics teams are partnered with each other in competition. You're more likely to win if you can figure out how best to work together on the course.
Hailey and Sadie Olsen; FTC Fairbanks Regional Champions>>: "It's playing to your partner's strengths, really, it's making sure you two can get the most points possible. Yeah. So we decided that filling the cryptobox was our main, key advantage, so that's kind of why we picked Team 9019, because they had a really good relic grabber. So we decided that we really didn't need to use our relic grabber to come out on top, and that worked out, I guess."
Tom Hewitt; Reporting>>: It was the first time competing for the Fox Bots, a team from the Yukon delta town of Kasigluk. They found a winning strategy was to divide up responsibilities for their robot's operation.
Fox Bots; First Time Competitors>>: They were mostly letting me drive. Me, I was mostly controlling the arm.
Tom Hewitt; Reporting>>: All nine teams from Saturday's competition qualified for the state championship in Anchorage this February. The only question: are they willing to do more work on their robots and make the long trip to Alaska's largest city?
Fox Bots; First Time Competitors>>: Yeah!
Tom Hewitt; Reporting>>: From Lathrop High School, I'm Tom Hewitt.