Hundreds of STEM students invade Myrtle Beach for ‘Star Wars’ themed robotics tournament

Hundreds of STEM students invade Myrtle Beach for ‘Star Wars’ themed robotics tournament

MYRTLE BEACH, S.C. (WMBF) - Testing, tuning up, and, of course, competing.

Students from all over the country are battling it out in Myrtle Beach this weekend at the FIRST Robotics Regional Tournament.

The three-day tournament is just the first step for robotics clubs hoping their bot will make the trip to nationals.

Eleven clubs from Horry County are among the 64 total crews competing in the Palmetto Regional. It’s a competition that the event organizers said is eye-opening to the commitment and dedication of some of the country’s brightest minds.

“This event is important to see what our young people are involved in," said event organizer Frank Lanford. "You’ll be shocked, trust me. Anybody who comes out will be shocked if they see what our young people are involved in. Learning STEM activities and having a lot of fun in the process.”

Students said months of blood, sweat and tears, along with success and failures, have led them to this point. But placement in the top half of their division make it all worth it.

“We’ve been working since before we figured out what the task was,” began Zachary Gauze, a junior with the Myrtle Beach High School robotics team. “So we started back in December working together and then once we got what the task was, we started designing, talking and deciding what we were going to do. So we’ve been working for a solid 3-4 months."

Hoping this weekend will be the first of a long robotics competition season, the teams said the competition is fulfilling countless hours of work.

Regional competitions like the one being held at the Myrtle Beach Convention Center are being held nationwide with over 80,000 students competing for First Robotics’ top prize.

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