CROWN POINT | High schoolers calling themselves the Underdogs pitted their bean-bag-tossing robots against some of the best in the world last month at an international robotics competition.
The Crown Point High School robotics team's appearance at the 2013 VEX Robotics Competition World Championship marked the group's fourth time since its 2009 formation to qualify for the contest, said Mark Querry, team sponsor and Crown Point High School industrial technology teacher.
The Crown Point team came in 66th of 85 teams in its division, team booster club President Christopher Haczynski said.
Close to 7,300 teams, consisting of more than 15,000 students from middle schools, high schools and universities in 24 countries, competed from April 17 to 20 in Anaheim, Calif.
The teams designed and built robots able to perform tasks such as quickly and accurately putting bean bags in a trough, one of the objects of this year's games.
To reach top competition levels, team members need to be persistent, said Christopher Haczynski, whose son Benjamin Haczynski and teammate Eddie Biggart competed at the world championships.
"They have to have some type of engineering skill, but they also need to apply themselves throughout the entire year to reach the world level," Christopher Haczynski said.
"There are a lot of distractions at their age, and if they don't put in the time it's difficult to get there," he said.
The Crown Point High School Underdogs, with about 25 total members divided among several teams, sent three teams to the VEX national competition earlier this year, Querry said. One team qualified for the world competition.
Crown Point High School is one of about 170 across the state, and the only one in the Northwest Indiana area, to compete in VEX robotics, Querry said.
Hilton Hotels, the Dean and Barbara White Family Foundation, the Crown Point Community Foundation and the Dr. Michael McNally family help to sponsor the Crown Point High School team, Querry said.