The ultimate sport of the mind, at least in the view of some students, drew to a close Saturday, but everyone's a winner at the annual FIRST Robotics Championship. NY1's Shazia Khan filed the following report.
ST. LOUIS - Student-built robots took center field at the FIRST Robotics World Championship in St. Louis.
"This feels amazing," said Kiernan Celii of Team 2848 from Dallas, Texas. "We've been working all season for this, and it's finally paid off."
"It's just like, mind blown," said Gabby Mummert of Team 74 from Holland, Michigan.
Several days of matches whittled down 400 high school teams to a winning alliance of three: Team 2848 from Dallas, Texas, Team 74 from Holland, Michigan and Team 254 from San Jose, California.
"I feel great," said Christopher Sides of Team 254. "There was a lot of tension and stress before that last match. It all just build up, and now, it's amazing."
"It's a love fest of technology, and everybody enjoys it," said Dean Kamen, founder of FIRST.
Now in its 25th year, Kamen said the mission remains the same: to inspire kids to pursue STEM. Many of the teens NY1 spoke with said mission accomplished, including Moritz Freid of Team 2158 from Austin, Texas, who now wants a career in mechanical engineering.
"Mechanical engineering was more my forte, of actually making and designing different things," Freid said.
After weeks of designing, building and competing in this year's challenge, the FIRST robotics season comes to a close. The robots and student head back home, some with trophies, but all with life lessons, from discipline, commitment and more.
"Teamwork is the main thing I think I've learned," said James Talbot of Team 2158 in Austin, Texas.
"Never like get down on yourself," Sides said. "Never look back."
"Being friendly. I think that is the biggest one that I've learned here," said Bailey Blankenship of Team 908 from Durham, North Carolina.
Stu Schmill, dean of admissions at MIT, said those life lessons make everyone here a winner.
"The kids who come through this program are really special," Schmill said. "They really understand what it's like to be out in the real world, and it's more than just formulas and technology, but it's about really making things work."