MILLBURN, N.J. (CBSNewYork) – Some New Jersey high school students are still flying high off their win at a worldwide competition.
Their robot took top prize. It’s the first time a New Jersey school has done that.
The Millburn High School team beat out more than 1,600 teams to become one of five teams honored as champions in the 12th annual Vex Robotics World Championship in Kentucky this weekend. It’s the biggest robotics competition in the world, according to the Guinness Book of World Records.
Cellphone video captured the victorious moment.
“It was amazing. there is nothing like it, hearing our name called above everybody else’s, knowing we really deserved it,” said team captain Brian Levine.
Levine is the captain of the team. He controls the robot they call Sally Joe.
The robot they built has to accomplish special tasks like shooting a ball to get enough points to win.
“Sally Joe can lift caps, put them on poles. It can shoot balls at the flags. They can climb the center platform. It can do it all,” coach Hilton Seibert told CBS2’s Natalie Duddridge.
Seibert has been working with the students around the clock for the entire school year to perfect the robot.
“There are some people who are here after school for five or six hours. Basically, if the custodians allow you,” said student Sarah Rose.
More than 20,000 teams from 65 countries begin the season. Then 600 must qualify, and it all comes down to the final match.
“It would be like the knockout round in soccer, or the NCAA tournament when you survive and advance,” said robotics co-coach David Farrell.
Advance they did, to the final faceoff: New Jersey vs. China.
It was a tough battle, but they did it.
“Most people didn’t expect us to win,” one student told Duddridge. “It was a really special moment. It was huge.”
The success doesn’t stop there: Many of the students will continue robotics in their college careers, and beyond.
“I’m going into computer engineering, computer science,” said student Javier Coindreau.
“This has been my passion for three years. I plan to do this for the rest of my life,” said student Jack Mansfield.
Wearing their medals proudly, these students say robotics has taught them skills to score in the next round of life.