Neenah robotics teams heading to world championships

Two Neenah teams are heading to the world championships but the playing field isn't what you might expect.
Published: Mar. 23, 2023 at 4:27 PM CDT
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NEENAH, Wis. (WBAY) - Two Neenah teams are heading to the world championships but the playing field isn’t what you might expect.

What does a robotics competition feel like?

“It’s fun but then there’s a lot of pressure I mean you know you got to do good and you know people expect that you do good, being one of the top teams,” said student Sam Bontorno.

Seventh grader Sam Bontorno is familiar with the pressure of competition. He’s part of a four-student robotics team at Shattuck Middle School that qualified for the world championships in Dallas next month. “So as a builder I come up with a lot of ideas about what we should build and I built a lot of the robot,” said Bontorno.

It looks like playing real-life Mario Cart, but it’s not that easy.

“It can be frustrating sometimes when you have like an error in your code and you don’t know what it is and you have to go through like your entire code to figure it out,” said Neenah High School student Jack Dementer.

At the high school level students use different materials and the scenarios of the competition are different.

“All of the sensors and movers are more powerful and more accurate and consistent so it’s really nice to be able to get more accuracy but then it’s also learning how to code with these new sensors and movers,” said Dementer.

Two Neenah High School freshmen qualified for the world championships, and they did it in their first year with the upgraded competition. As for Sam, he and his teammates are also looking to add to their trophy collection.

The Robotics team has a GoFundMe page to help support their trip to the World Competition.