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Robotics teams kick off “Star Wars”-themed game

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Local high school robotics teams will travel into the “Star Wars” universe.

“Skystone” is the theme of the latest FIRST Tech Challenge game, as the international robotics competition partners with the charity arm of “Star Wars” for the season. Teams design, built, test and program autonomous and driver-operated robots to perform a series of tasks.

“I’m sure they’re all eager to get going today,” Crawfordsville High School robotics adviser Darrin Wilcoxson said during a kickoff event Saturday, where area teams watched the globally-streamed game announcement and began testing the playing field.

Crawfordsville has 35 students competing in three teams. Students will now begin designing their robots. 

The first league tournament is set for Nov. 9 at North Montgomery High School. North Montgomery will host two more league tournaments Nov. 23 and Dec. 7.

Teams then compete to qualify in the semi-state contest and the state championship. Two of Crawfordsville’s teams placed 12th and 18th at last year’s state event, which Crawfordsville hosted.

A team from Denver, Indiana earned the top ranking at the state finals last year.

North Montgomery enters the season with a largely new team of six students. The school last hosted a tournament two years ago.

“It’s a good way for students to learn their bot and develop their bot,” adviser Rob Clemence said.

Students are also judged on documenting every step of the robot design process. Teams have networked with local manufacturers, which can make or provide equipment.

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