30 robotics teams gather in Huntsville to compete in annual FIRST Tech Challenge

HUNTSVILLE Ala. -- Thirty teams from Alabama, Kentucky, and Tennessee came together in Huntsville Saturday to compete in the second annual FIRST Tech Challenge Robotics Championship. Each team built and programmed their own robot to stack blocks in rows, columns, or patterns, all for different point values.

Reigning champions, the 'Apex Predators' from Huntsville High School, said they were feeling the competition this year.

"You kind of have to just get in your zone and ignore the crowd around you. Unless they're cheering you on, then you get pumped," said Jacob Smith, a junior at Huntsville High School.

Win or lose, the 'Lectric Legends' from Kentucky say they may build robots just for competition, but the friendships they gain are for life.

"The coolest part of robotics for me is the camaraderie," said high school senior Brandon Gowan. "It wouldn't be any fun if you didn't enjoy all the people you're building the robot with."

The top two finishers from Saturday's state championship go on to the regional championship held in Athens, Georgia in March.