The Sentinel & Enterprise
LEOMINSTER — The gymnasium at the Boys & Girls Club of Fitchburg and Leominster had a fierce competition that didn’t involve basketballs or nets, but rather, robots built from Legos.
On Saturday, the club hosted the annual Lego Robotics Tournament, where teams battled one another for remote-control supremacy.
The battles take place on a 4-foot-by-8-foot playing table, which has various obstacles. The seventh annual showdown tasked the teams, which come from other clubs or schools from around North Central Massachusetts, with a number of missions to be completed over 2 1/2 minutes.
Last year’s winning team was the Thundergirls from Shirley.
This year, Acton’s Peregrine Falcons took the overall title against squads from as far away as Sudbury. The competition is open to children ages 14 and younger and includes a requirement of completing a research project before the contest and an oral presentation.
More than 500 people crowded the floor, vestibules and stage during the robotics showdown, which featured 23 teams, with winners across seven categories.
The winners advanced to the state championships in Worcester on Dec. 19, with hopes of advancing to the regional championships.
The FIRST Lego League is the international body that supports the program and sponsors the events and takes place in nearly every state and dozens of countries around the world. FIRST is an acronym for “For Inspiration & Recognition of Science & Technology.
The teams are supported by volunteers and local corporate funding but all the design, control and construction are done by the children.
“I like the programming the best,” said Dominick Sousa of the Clinton Asteroids team. “I did most of the programming along with Taylor (Thomson).”
Another Acton team, Young Engineers, won the srategy and innovation category.
Other winners include: Project Presentation — Musical Penguins from Sudbury; Mechanical Design — Girlillas from Lexington; Programming — Hale Storm from Stow; Judges Award — Space Cats from Ayer; and Inspiration — Space Pugs from Shirley.