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North Country high school, university students advance to championship round of robotics competition

Imagine this; two teams of three robots each are pitted against each other in an area to fling projectiles and climb to the top of a steel pyramid.

That’s not a preliminary scene from the next sci-fi epic,  it’s exactly what happened March 2 in Manchester, New Hampshire, at the Granite State Regional competition of the FIRST Robotics Competition, or FRC.

A team made up of students from high schools in New York’s North Country, Massena High School and Salmon River High School in Covington, competed and won at this year’s regional contest, advancing them to the FRC Championship in Saint Louis, Missouri.

The team is one of two that competed sponsored by Clarkson University, in Potsdam, as part of the Northern New York Robotics Academy, a partnership between North Country-based institutions of higher education to develop robotics-based educational outreach experiences. Through the program the high school students work with students at Clarkson to achieve their robotic goals.

WAMC’s Patrick Donges spoke recently with FIRST teammates Brianna Barley, of Massena High School, Chris Taylor, of Salmon River, Salmon River FIRST coach Darcie Fregoe, Clarkson University student and FIRST mentor Libby Kamen, and Clarkson University associate professor and FIRST advisor James Carroll, for more on this exciting competition. Dr. Carroll began the conversation.