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Students' litter-disposing robots battle it out in state robotics tournament

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A different kind of team sport was on display at the University of Minnesota's Williams Arena Saturday night as 30 teams competed in the state robotics tournament.

The alliance of Duluth East, Trinity School at River Ridge and East Ridge won the state championship Saturday, according to John Millea of the MSHSL. Duluth East was coming off a second-place finish at the world robotics championship last month.

Minnesota is home to roughly 200 high school robotics teams – one of the largest contingents in the country – outnumbering the high school boys varsity hockey programs in the state, the Pioneer Press noted.

Saturday's fourth-annual state tournament is the culmination of the robotics season in Minnesota. The season starts in January when teams find out the challenge that teams throughout the world will try to solve.

For this year's challenge – "Recycling Rush" – teams had to build a robot that could both stack and throw objects.

After weeks of building the robots, teams go on to compete in regional and national competitions. Minnesota's top 30 teams qualify for the state tournament, which was held this weekend.

During the competition, three schools teamed up to form an alliance where they would use their robots to stack boxes, top them with a recycling bin and then use the robots to "dispose of litter" by throwing pool noodles into the opposing alliance's bins, a news release notes.

The MSHSL has more photos from the tournament on its Facebook page here.

The Minnesota State Robotics Tournament was the first of its kind in the nation sponsored by a high school activities association, the release notes.

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