BROAD-ALBIN, N.Y. (NEWS10) — At the FIRST Tech Challenge Tournament, 28 teams, with many from the Capital Region, competed in the FIRST Tech Challenge Tournament. The goal is for each team to build a robot that can play in various games while also learning more about robot design, programming, and outreach.

Katrina Payton is a senior at The Albany Academies, and she was introduced to robotics by her older brother when she was in 8th grade. But was surprised with how much she loved the process and the people and decided to keep competing through her high school career.

“Turns out it’s an amazing community, and it’s a great look into what the engineering career looks like,” she said.

And that includes learning the steps to design and create an actual robot. Hadley Ackroyd and Eve Molnar from Ballston Spa Middle School say it is one of their favorite parts.

“I love building everything… How many friendships you have… and then you’re like a family of robotics,” Molinar said.

Molinar and Ackroyd were not the only ones who said that these competitions feel more like community events. Members of the Niskayuna Robo Warriors at Niskayuna High School don’t see robotics as just another after-school activity.

“And it’s more than just a high school club; it’s like a team,” said Sophmore Ameili Van Lanen.

Smyan Sengupta is a Senior at  Niskayuna High School and says that he is excited to not only be a part of the process but also to be a part of creating everything from start to finish.

“The grace and professionalism, the notebook.. all the grind. It’s just amazing,” he said.

Before each match, every team was busy prepping their robot after spending about 5 to 6 months testing and building. Tristan Adrian is also a Senior at Niskayuna High School and agrees that the program can offer a unique opportunity for students.

“There’s a certain satisfaction you get when you see something that you made move around to do things…that you maybe never thought it could do…,” he said.

At the end of the day-long competition, the top five teams will advance to the Excelsior Region Championship on March 5th in Utica.